Cooking the Passover Meal for Jesus

Last Supper

“Who’s doing the haroset? These apples should’ve been chopped by now!”

“Judith, where’s the rest of the matzah?”

The tantalizing aroma of perfectly prepared lamb fills the crowded room. Noisy conversation buzzes all around. To paraphrase the youngest child, this night is different from every other Passover I’ve ever prepared.

I’m standing in the doorway of the upper room, watching Jesus. It’s difficult to pay attention, because I’m so distracted. I wish I had another three servers, but things are going fairly smoothly.

The mood at table is a bit more serious than I’d expect. Jesus’ face looks aglow, passionate, and somber at the same time.

Suddenly Jesus looks at me. Oh! That look goes straight to my heart, even though I know he looks at everyone that way. It immediately moves me to want to serve the tables a little better.

“Girls! Get those wine flasks ready. It’s time for the fourth pour.”

Then I notice little Esther squatting in the corner. That girl. We have so much work to do! But her eyes are glued on Jesus, and I can tell she can hear what I cannot. Oh, to have young ears again! I leave her alone and scurry to see the last course served.

I miss something important while in the kitchen. John is leaning on Jesus. Judas is heading for the door. What just happened?

I hear my name called over my shoulder. One of my girls needs help. When things settle down, I return to my post. Jesus looks at me, and with a barely perceptible tilt of his head, I know he wants me at his side.

“Yes, dear? What do you need?”

He gives me a close-lipped smile and reaches for my hand. And with his other hand, he puts a scrap of bread in my palm. “Remember,” is all he says.

Remember.

Again I feel my heart leap, as his presence touches my palm. I move the bread to my lips and walk slowly back to my station. For some reason tears sting my eyes. I notice the aroma of wine hanging in the air.

“Esther, go over to Jesus,” I whisper to the girl, who is frightened that I’ve discovered her hiding place.

I watch as he gives her a morsel too. She looks transfixed. I shake my head in amazement and motion to our serving staff to queue up and go to Jesus.

Is he reaching for the Elijah cup?

I step into the kitchen to organize clean-up. So much to do for this elaborate feast!

And now the men stand and head to the door. They’re off to their favorite place, I’m sure. The room is emptying out quickly.

I walk over to the place where Jesus sat. The rest of our crew comes to the empty table too.

“Wash these dishes carefully,” I tell them. “Something worth remembering happened here tonight. I don’t quite know what, but…”

“He filled me with peace!” one server says.

“I heard him say not to be troubled—by anything,” says another.

“I’ll never forget tonight,” says a third.

I sit down in Jesus’ empty place. “Rest a minute, girls,” I say. They join me around the table.

“What did you hear?” I ask Esther. She speaks in a soft voice Jesus’ invitation to all of us: “Remember.”

About Loretta Pehanich 34 Articles
Loretta Pehanich is a spiritual director and author of Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. She is involved with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Sacramento and its program in giving the Spiritual Exercises. She has more than 20 years of experience in ministry, including retreat work and small group leadership. Loretta currently works as a fundraiser in Sacramento. She and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren.

33 Comments on Cooking the Passover Meal for Jesus

  1. Remember…recall…revisit…reconsider…remain in this moment.
    Thank you, Loretta. Your reflection will return to my spirit as I receive.

  2. Thank you, Loretta.”Do this in memory of Me.” Remember. There are so many things Jesus could have said at that moment. What He did say was that, from this evening on, God wants us to worship Him by having a meal–the holy sacrifice of His Body and Blood. Remember.

  3. It was beautifully imaged, we were there with the women who prepared the meal. Women usually ate separately from the men in that culture. Mother Mary was probably in the background with the other Women & in your telling, Jesus has included them in this first Eucharist. So touching, Yes, the dear Lord, asking to be remembered. Thank you.

  4. I think that I am getting better at understanding the Ignatian way of immersing oneself in the Bible. This is not just a story, but is something that happened in the course of daily lives that was immensely important. Lives were totally and forever changed by each of these events. Thank you for setting the scene and opening my eyes.

  5. A beautiful meditation. I was swept into it from the start. I kept thinking what Dismas (the Good Thief) said: “Remember me when you enter into your Kingdom…” and the haunting refrain that we sing on Good Friday as well…
    Re-Member.
    Thank you and many blessings.
    Henry

  6. Wonderful presentation. I have often wondered about the others in the room and who actually did prepare the food for the meal. I hope I “Remember” to share this with my scripture study class.

  7. Thank you , that was beautiful.
    I often used to put myself in the Bible readings as part of the crowd. Gives one a better perspective.. Thank you again. A.M.D.G.

  8. I wish we Catholics had a Sader/Passover meal to remind ourselves of Jesus’ Passover, Passion, Death AND RESSURECTION…..This was a lovely article

    • It’s a little early in Lent for the last supper, but since we all will be eating dinner tonight, it fits, right? Who is cooking the evening meal at your house?

    • Were you there when they sat down to the meal?
      Were you there when they sat down to the meal?
      Oh-oh-oh oh. Sometimes it causes me to tremble. tremble. tremble.
      (you know that tune?)

  9. So beautiful! Thanks a lot for your writing. I never really thought about other people than the disciples and those nominated by.the Bible who also met and saw Jesus. They, too, had a vivid experience of Him even if for some short moments.

  10. It was beautiful. I was so overwhelmed when you said, Jesus is looking at me. As a spiritual director myself
    I honor you for your work.

      • Hi Loretta, just read “Cooking the Passover Meal For Jesus”. No not too earl. Blessie is hosting our annual Passover celebration next weekend. I’m bringing your reflection and hope to be reading it at some point during he evening. Thank you for the gift you share with everyone.
        Ginny

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