If disciples reclined, why do we kneel or stand during Mass?

If at the Last Supper, the disciples reclined (or perhaps sat?), then why do we kneel (or in the East, stand) during the consecration?

You want us to lay down during the Consecration???

That’s my point. They did. Where was the reverence there?

If we had to lie down, a lot of us would never be able to get up. Note I don’t kneel anymore either.

It was the Passover meal. Did they even know what was going on other than it being the Passover?

I also think the projection that they were not reverent is speculation. No reason to assume they were irrevent.

Jewish law from the Mishna (Pesachim 10:1) required that even the poorest person in Israel must not eat on the first night of Passover unless reclining.

I guess we could prostrate…


Reclining at meals was the common posture in both the Middle East and for the Romans at that point in history. It was not irreverent, it is just the way they ate. That was their culture.
Over the course of history and as Christianity spread, customs changed, people began meeting in churches for Eucharist instead of homes, and the posture changed because they were no longer sitting or lying around a table eating a meal, but were in a large community building during the Liturgy, that is, a church.

Customs and cultures change over time, and we must not make the mistake of imposing our cultural beliefs and customs on the people of another era. That is an improper way to read and understand Scripture. It must be read in the context of the culture in which it was written for a full understanding. For us, lying down at a meal would be seen as bad manners but for them it was perfectly normal, and not irreverent one bit.

Thanks for the info!!

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the Jesus was Jewish and lived according to Jewish laws and customs :smiley:

So the answer is…they were Jews doing being true to Judaism during the Passover. :wink:

That, and it really was just a common eating posture back then. I’m immediately reminded of the flashback in the Passion (referring to the Mel Gibson movie) where Mary is skeptical of the idea of raised tables, and humorously doesn’t think they’ll ever catch on.

I have a hard enough time staying awake during Mass. If I had to lie down I’d sleep right through the whole thing.

They sat enjoying the Passover meal. It was not mass as we know it, they were still trying to get their head around it all, and to them they were just having the Passover as they always had.

After Jesus did it different and then the Holy Spirit came on them, things changed.

I am not sure when kneeling/standing started, I imagine it may have been a century or two later. Anyone else know?

St. Paul was a Pharisee. One opinion is that the day of the Last Supper was on 14 Nissan, because it was on the day “when they sacrificed the Passover”, the day of the slaughtering for the Passover occurring from 2PM. The Passover is 15 Nissan. But another opinion is that were calendar difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees amounting to a days difference.

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