‘The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross’
Author: Scott Hahn
Length: 192 pages
Release Date: Feb. 20, 2018
Available at: Kino Library
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Everyone knows Scott Hahn, or at least, has heard his name, especially Catholics. Here he comes again, this time just as Easter is almost upon us with his latest book, “The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross.”
For this Easter, Hahn tackles the mysteries of the Last Supper and the Cross so that we may better immerse ourselves in the most holy of seasons.
What many people don’t know is that Scott Hahn has a master’s degree and a doctorate in theology, and that is pretty good for a former ordained Presbyterian minister.
The fact is, Scott Hahn, like many of us, is a convert to the Church because of its beauty, truth and the absolute knowledge of whom the keys to the kingdom were given to — St. Peter, the only human being ever to have his name changed by Jesus Christ.
Years ago, he heard a reading of the Passion and then heard a sermon given by a friend of his, but the final words of Christ knocked Hahn down: “It is done.”
Hahn asked his pastor friend what Christ meant by “it,” but his friend admitted that he didn’t know. Like most of us and most of the Presbyterians in the church that day, we can let it go, we don’t need to know or worry about “it,” but Scott Hahn couldn’t let it go. This sent him to the theology library where he poured over volumes looking for the answer, and when he couldn’t find it, he turned to Catholic theologians, and, of course, that was where he made his big mistake.
Catholic theologians, by and large, write about the truth and the actual events of Scripture, and comment on the words that Christ gave us. Catholics are stuck with the reality of the Bread of Life and I suppose when Hahn read phrases like, “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood,” (Jn 6:56), the connection between the Jews thinking the teaching too hard and leaving Jesus, and all of those not in communion with the Church would stand out; an imperative would begin to develop.
This book is about Easter, why Easter is important, and why it is couched deeply in the Jewish feast of the Passover. The book is also autobiographical, detailing Hahn’s journey from the darkness to the sunlight.
Hahn first discovered that the whole thing with the “it” was bound up with the idea of the covenant between God and humankind. The Passover established that covenant and Christ’s passion, death and resurrection continued it in a whole new way in which the Triune God touched His creation directly. The fact that Hahn’s congregation only celebrated the Lord’s Supper four times a year began to seem woefully inadequate considering the discoveries he made. This moved Scott Hahn to attend a Catholic Mass as an observer and that’s what did him in, as the old saying goes.
Unwittingly, he began to add things to the order of service and members of his congregation who were “former” Catholics began to warn him of these tendencies. This drove him to further study and to further Mass attendance.
The fourth Gospel, or the Gospel of John, stood out for him in his study; after all, John was an eyewitness. Reading the early Church Fathers and his discovery of the reality of Christ as the Passover Lamb pushed him over the edge.
John 6 was the one that takes emotional, mental and spiritual gymnastics to ignore and try to live one’s Christian life outside the Church. In that chapter, Jesus told the gathered crowd that He was the Bread of Life and that whoever ate the bread would have eternal life. It was no accident that the Jewish crowd rejected His assertion and left Him (Jn 6:66). For Hahn, the obvious omission of the Lamb and the failure of Jesus and the Apostles to drink the fourth and final cup did it. All of Judeo-Christian reality rained down upon Hahn and he could no longer ignore any of it.
The real importance of this book tells the story of our journey as well, one that is repeated weekly, seasonally and yearly. It’s a great reminder.