And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said,
Take, eat; this is my body.
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Theophylact of Ochrid
. Matthew added the words "as they were eating," to reveal the cruelty of Judas. For worse than a beast, Judas did not become more meek when he partook of the common meal. Not even when reproved did he listen, but he went so far as to taste of the Lord’s Body, and still did not repent. But some say that Christ did not give the Mysteries to the other disciples until Judas had left. So we too should do the same and withhold the Mysteries from those who are evil. When He is about to break the bread He gives thanks, teaching us also to offer the Bread with thanksgiving. At the same time He also shows by this that He gladly accepts as if it were a gift the breaking of His own Body, that is, His death, and that He is not displeased as if it were something that He is unwilling to accept, so that we too, in the same manner, might gladly accept martyrdom as a gift. By saying, "This is My Body," He shows that the bread which is sanctified on the altar is the Lord’s Body Itself, and not a symbolic type. For He did not say, "This is a type," but "This is My Body." By an ineffable action it is changed, although it may appear to us as bread. Since we are weak and could not endure to eat raw meat, much less human flesh, it appears as bread to us although it is indeed flesh.