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A Conversion Conversation with Dr. Scott Hahn


Popular Catholic author and speaker Dr. Scott Hahn discusses his new book, “The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross.”

Father Dave points out that Dr. Hahn was a former Presbyterian minister and asks him to share his experience. “I was an evangelical Protestant, and most of my friends would have described me as the most anti-Catholic person they knew,” Dr. Hahn says. “Not because of bigotry, but just because of the studied conviction that if the Eucharist is just a wafer, what are those Catholics doing worshiping it?” He explains that all of this changed 30 years ago when he became a Catholic. “The eureka moment for me was when I was in a basement chapel in a weekday Mass for the very first time, when I heard a Catholic priest pronounce the words on consecration. A light came on. I realized that isn’t bread, that’s Christ.”

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Father Dave points out that while in seminary, he took a philosophy course and learned that when we are celebrating Mass, we are not reenacting the Last Supper: “What we’re making present is Christ on calvary. So, it’s not 13 guys gathered around a table, and let’s do that again. What we’re making present is Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, even though the optics, if you will, and what we’re enacting with our bodies is much more like the Last Supper. Can you delve into that more?”

“We really are representing Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, but as an unbloody sacrifice,” Dr. Hahn says. “Notice two things, we’re not representing the execution, because it’s an unbloody sacrifice, Jesus isn’t up there on the altar bleeding … what we’re really renewing in the Eucharist is what we call the Paschal Mystery. It’s the memorial of his death and resurrection. The memorial is what he establishes on Holy Thursday when he institutes the Eucharist, the death is what he experienced on Good Friday, and the Resurrection is what he experienced on Easter Sunday.”

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Father Dave and Dr. Hahn also look at the Jewish roots of the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples. Dr. Hahn points out that what no Christians notice about the Last Supper, every Jew would notice. Namely, that at the Last Supper, Jesus drinks the third cup, consecrates it, shares it with them, and says he’s not going to drink again. He then sings the Great Hallel, and omits the fourth cup. Dr. Hahn says, “That would be like if you brought a Jewish friend to the Mass and the priest forgot to administer Holy Communion. Would your Jewish friend notice? Of course not, but would every Catholic? Of course so!” He explains that Jesus is not just interrupting the Passover of the old covenant, he’s fulfilling it by instituting the Eucharist. So in John 19, when they lift the sour wine to his lips and he drinks it, Jesus says, “It is finished,” the Passover of the new covenant that was begun in the Upper Room is now completed at the Cross. (Original Air 2-20-18)