17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
20 When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; 21 and as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. 24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Is it I, Master?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a chalice, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the g covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Matthew 26:26-29 – Matthew’s Last Supper account highlights three aspects of the Eucharist (CCC 1339-40).
(1) Jesus identifies the unleavened bread and the chalice with his body andblood (26:26-28). Through his spoken words the mystery of “transubstantiation” takes place: his body and blood replace the entire substance of the bread and wine. Although his presence remains undetected by the senses, the force of the verb “is” (Gk. estin) should not be reduced to “represents” or “symbolizes”. The Church’s faith rests entirely on Jesus’ solemn words (cf. Jn 6:68; 2 Cor 5:7).
(2) Jesus links the Eucharist with his forthcoming sacrifice on the Cross (27:35; Jn 19:34). The expression poured out (26:28) recalls how Old Covenant priests poured the blood of sacrificial offerings at the base of the Temple’s altar to make atonement for sin (Lev 4:16-20; cf. Deut 12:26, 27; Is 53:12). Shedding his own blood, Jesus is both the high priest and the sacrificial victim of the New Covenant; his priestly offering is present in an unbloody manner in the sacrament and secures for us the forgiveness of sins.
(3) Christ’s presence in the Eucharist makes the sacrament a true communion with Jesus (1 Cor 10:16). The phrase blood of the covenant is drawn from Ex 24:8, where God entered a covenant of love and communion with Israel through sacrifice. The consumption of bloodalways forbidden under the Old Covenant (Lev 17:11-12)is now enjoined in the New, since it communicates Christ’s divine life to the believer (Jn 6:53; CCC 1329, 1374, 1381)