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For Maundy Thursday: a reading from Irenaeus of Lyon

April 18, 2019

For Maundy Thursday, here is a reading from Faith and Life, from Irenaeus of Lyon:

He took the creature of bread, and gave thanks, saying, “This is My Body.” And likewise the Cup, which belongs to this our creation, He declared to be His Blood; and taught the new oblation of the New Testament, which the Church, receiving from the Apostles, offers throughout the whole world to God, to Him who bestows food on us, the first-fruits of His gifts, in the New Testament. Of which oblation Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus gave intimation beforehand, “I have no pleasure in you, neither will I receive an offering at your hand, saith the Lord of hosts. For from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof My Name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto My Name, and a pure offering.” We offer unto Him His own, proclaiming in due accord the fellowship and union, and confessing the resurrection of the flesh and spirit . For as the bread from the earth, receiving the Divine invocation, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two things, an earthly and a heavenly, so also our bodies, receiving the Eucharist, are no longer perishable, having the hope of the Resurrection unto life everlasting.

–St. Irenaeus against Heresies, iv. 17, 18.

A very fitting reading for Maundy Thursday!

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