The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ June 6, 2021
The Gospel Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
After the Gospel:
Pope Francis may have had the United States in mind at his Mass on Pentecost,
when a congregation was with him for first time since the pandemic struck.
1,000 people heard him call for unity in the Church,
to reject what divides and separates us,
to say NO!, not be caught up between conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, the right and left …
But to say Yes! to what makes us Catholics,
to say YES! to the whole,
Yes! to seeing ourselves as parts of the same Body, Yes! to unity!
He may well have been thinking of recent headlines:
“Catholic bishops at odds about receiving Communion,”
“Controversy swirls over pro-abortion politicians receiving Communion,”
the Eucharist being used as a weapon in America’s political warfare.
Just when bishops are trying to get Catholics back into the pews,
comes a scandal and division making bigger news, causing people to shake their heads.
Who gets Holy Communion has become such a hot issue, so highly public and charged with emotions, that it will be on the agenda of the American bishops’ national assembly starting June 16.
For Pope Francis, it was a call back to the basics,
which has a special meaning for Corpus Christi,
when the breaking of the bread becomes our sign that we are one Body.
Today’s feast gives us a chance to join with Catholics the world over
in celebrating the basics of what we believe,
because you can’t NOT BELIEVE in the Eucharist and still be a Catholic.
It’s our chance to celebrate what the Body and Blood of Christ mean to us personally.
The truth is, we’re all sinners. All Catholics should approach the Eucharist with fear and trembling, but even more, with hope and confidence, because we believe that no matter how great our sins, God’s mercy is even greater.
We believe it’s the Lord’s Supper we’re celebrating,
that in the Eucharist, Christ gives us the very Body which he gave up for us on the Cross,
the very Blood which he poured out for the forgiveness of our sins.
How many martyrs have died to defend the Eucharist!
Our belief is that Jesus Christ makes Himself truly present,
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist,
that He is present whole and entire in the species of bread and in the species of wine,
whole and entire in their parts,
in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.
We acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our Shepherd, that one of His greatest works is to be the Shepherd who gathers his flock around him in the Eucharist .. including the healthy and the wounded.
We believe the Shepherd does not lie when He says: “This is My Body – this is My Blood – do this in memory of Me!”
We believe there are blood ties between this flock and its Shepherd,
because this Shepherd went to the very end of his life to open the way to the pastures of salvation,
to lead us to the place where God dwells.
We believe that in the Eucharist Christ cares for us,
feeds us, satisfies our hunger with true Bread from Heaven,
so that whatever material food does for our bodily life,
the Eucharist does even better in our spiritual life,
preserving, increasing and renewing the life of grace we received at Baptism,
separating us from sin, keeping us from what would harm us.
We’re proud to bear the name ‘Christian,’ that the Eucharist is what bonds us together.
There is one Bread, which is broken for us,
so that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ,
enter into communion with Him,
form one Body in Him.
As we receive the Body of Christ, we form the Body of Christ, we make one body…
which dictates how we treat each other …
since … how can we despise other members of our own body?
Not for this life only are we Christians, but for the life to come.
We believe that this Shepherd is able to give us His life – Eternal Life – so we shall never perish.
We’re confident that Jesus said: “whoever eats this bread will live forever,”
that the Eucharist is the leaven of eternity within us, our pledge of life to come,
so we take the Eucharist as our medicine of immortality,
as our antidote for death, as the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ.
Every time we approach God’s holy table we’re following His command to eat and drink,
as we ask for our daily bread,
for bread for our journey,
the strength to get us thru this day,
to get us thru this life,
the Bread that will endure with us to life everlasting.
Our Liturgy may use different names in its prayers: Manna from Heaven, Bread of Angels, Sacred Banquet, Holy Viaticum … but in all those names, we acknowledge the Real Presence… Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Any one of those names state our belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,
that He’s resurrected and alive,
with us until the end of time, that God has put everything into His hands.
In the Eucharist, we believe, He does works no one else can do.