Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone fully accepts Him

The Institution Narrative of the Eucharistic prayer is the part that uses the words of Jesus in which He says, “this is My Body,” and “this is My Blood.” It is called the “Institution Narrative” because it was during the Last Supper that He instituted, or began, the New Covenant in His body and blood.
The revision made to this part of the Mass has caused some contention because the new translation says of Jesus’ blood that it “will be poured out for you and for many.”  That Jesus’ blood would be poured out “for many” could imply that Jesus did not die to save everyone.
St. Mark writes that Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” In St. Matthew’s version Jesus says, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many.”
Both St. Luke and St. Paul also report accounts of the Last Supper, but neither speaks so specifically about the application of Jesus’ self-sacrifice. St. Luke records Jesus saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you,” which could lead to the conclusion that Jesus would offer His body and blood on the cross only for those present at the Last Supper. St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians, notes that Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”
First, we should not conclude that the slight variations found in these accounts means there is doubt about what actually happened during the Last Supper. Mark, Matthew, Luke and Paul reported the oral tradition that had been handed on to them, as St. Paul admits.
Most of the first Christians expected Jesus to return in their lifetimes and so they did not see a reason to record the life of Jesus in written form. As the first Apostles began to die, the Christian community, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, began to write down the events of Jesus’ life for future generations of believers.
Second, there is no word for “all” in the spoken language of Jesus.  This is why Isaiah 53:12 predicted that the Christ would, “justify the many,” and why Jesus Himself says in Matthew 20:28 that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
And yet Jesus says that not all will enter the Father’s Kingdom. In Luke 13 Jesus says that to be saved we must strive to enter through the narrow path of life. Some will claim to have been His followers because they ate and drank His body and blood, but because of their life’s conduct Jesus will say, “I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers! And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.”
Jesus died for all, but not all fully accept Him. We are not to judge who, in His mercy, God, through Jesus, permits into His kingdom. All we can do is to walk the narrow path by conforming our lives to Christ’s and pray to eventually be among the many in heaven.
Father BRYAN BABICK, SL.L., is the vicar for Divine Worship and the Sacraments for the Diocese of Charleston.