Da Vinci’s Last Supper for Advent | National Review

Da Vinci’s Last Supper for Advent | National Review


Today is the last day to view a life-sized reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in lower Manhattan. The exhibit also included zoomed-in stand-alone parts of the painting. I walked through it a few times, truth be told, meditating on the scene and what Judas must have felt like at the table. Was his heart so hard at that point? I can’t imagine so — since he despaired and took his own life. I thought of how each and every little sin is a betrayal of Jesus. And we believe that at Baptism the Holy Trinity is present within us. So we are even closer to Jesus than Judas was at the table. I appreciated that the Last Supper was on display during Advent, because you really can’t meditate on the Incarnation without the whole story of salvation. That’s why it’s so amazing. God comes as man to redeem us in His life, death, and Resurrection. It was a gift that the Sheen Center brought New York City this fall. It’s a concept that’s existed in Europe, but debuted in the U.S. for the first time there.

The exhibit also got me thinking about being at the table with Jesus. This happens at every Mass. And it’s so much more — really where Heaven and earth meet.

Walking through the Last Supper up close reminded me of what Pope Francis said in what’s believed to be the Upper Room in Jerusalem:

The Upper Room reminds us of sharingfraternityharmony and peace among ourselves. How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room! How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent. All the saints drew from this source; and hence the great river of the Church’s holiness continues to flow: from the Heart of Christ, from the Eucharist and from the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, the Upper Room reminds us of the birth of the new family, the Church, our holy Mother the hierarchical Church established by the risen Jesus; a family that has a Mother, the Virgin Mary. Christian families belong to this great family, and in it they find the light and strength to press on and be renewed, amid the challenges and difficulties of life. All God’s children, of every people and language, are invited and called to be part of this great family, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the one Father in heaven.

These horizons are opened up by the Upper Room, the horizons of the Risen Lord and his Church.

From here the Church goes forth, impelled by the life-giving breath of the Spirit. Gathered in prayer with the Mother of Jesus, the Church lives in constant expectation of a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Send forth your Spirit, Lord, and renew the face of the earth (cf. Ps 104:30)!

We need that!

Art historian Liz Lev talks about the painting here.





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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.