The twelve Apostles gather together, unknown to them Jesus has a different plan for this final Passover. He takes the bread and breaks it and gives it to them “this is my body”. He takes the chalice and gives it to them, “This is my blood”
The Apostles are aware something new is happening, and while they may not understand fully until after the Resurrection, they know enough.
This is one of 12 paintings for the Ascension Press program “What We Believe” found here.
As part of the program I worked closely with the team to come up with each composition, and for this one it was particularly important to emphasize that all the Apostles are present even if we could only depict five, in order to mirror Pentecost and make the painting a manageable number of people, which is why there are two halos out of scene indicating the rest of the Apostles.
Peter, on the right, crosses his arms over his chest in humility, gazing at his Lord’s face. He is ready to even die for Jesus if they come after him, even if Jesus tells him he will deny him three times before morning.
John, on the left, places a hand over his heart. He who rested upon the breast of Jesus during the last supper was intimately aware of the heart. He gazes, absolutely raptly, at the scene unfolding before him.
James, on the bottom left, with much longer hair than at Pentecost, looks upon the scene with rapt attention and once again folds his hands in prayer.
The fourth Apostle shown isn’t anyone in particular since Peter, James and John are the only three ever called out by name in situations such as these, but we needed a fourth and unlike Pentecost, Mary Magdalene wouldn’t work here. This is the priesthood being instituted. Only the Twelve are listed as being present. As such, I like to think of this Apostle as Thomas, a hint to his doubt with his pointing finger to the Eucharist. Thomas believed so readily when it was right before his eyes, but struggled when he was only told. So to point Jesus out in the Eucharist is a reminder for me that we can get it when we’re at Mass and still struggle outside of it all.