Did Jesus Christ receive His own Body and Blood at the Last Supper, eating Himself with the Twelve Apostles in the Upper Room?
“In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.'” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 1374
As Catholics, we believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Through transubstantiation at consecration the body and blood of Jesus Christ is made substantially and literally present in the Eucharist.
The Last Supper was the institution of the Eucharist, essentially the first act of transubstantiation. In breaking bread and sharing the cup, the Twelve Apostles received the real body and blood of Christ.
Does that mean Christ “ate Himself” at the Last Supper? While the Gospels do not explicitly say so, there is enough to say that He at least did eat the Passover meal at the Last Supper.
“He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,
for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.'” – Luke 22:15-16
“And while they were eating, he said, ‘Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.'” – Matthew 26:21
Did Christ eating the Passover meal include His own flesh and blood? For the answer we turn to the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas of Aquinas, who takes up the question in his magnum opus The Summa Theologica.
Aquinas first quotes Saint Jerome, who said: “The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself the guest and banquet, is both the partaker and what is eaten.” He then elaborates by saying Christ first fulfilled what He required others to observe. For example, Christ instituted baptism by being baptized Himself, in the same way He would have instituted the Eucharist by partaking in the Eucharist Himself.
Finally Aquinas answers in the affirmative, yes Christ did eat Himself:
“And therefore He ate it both spiritually and sacramentally, inasmuch as He received His own body under the sacrament which sacrament of His own body He both understood and prepared; yet differently from others who partake of it both sacramentally and spiritually, for these receive an increase of grace, and they have need of the sacramental signs for perceiving its truth.” – Summa Theologica Q 81.1