20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – 19th August 2018

Theme: WE EAT THE BODY OF THE RISEN LORD

  • Proverbs 9:1-6;
  • Psalm 33 (34): 2-3. 10-15. R/ v. 9;
  • Ephesians 5:15-20
  • John 6:51-58 

Today is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about the bread of life. In fact, for the past four Sundays, inclusive of today, the gospel is from John chapter 6 and it tells us about the bread of life.

Jesus is the bread of life, that is, Jesus is the revelation of God the Father. Jesus is the revelation of God the Father in his person and life, in his words and actions, and especially in his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! And this is what we celebrate in the Eucharist!

With the gospel today the Eucharistic theme emerges! The gospel today tells us that Jesus is the living bread come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread shall live forever and the bread that Jesus gives is his flesh for the life of the world! This is the first time that the word “flesh” is used for the “bread of life”! And not only “flesh”, but also “blood”! Thus the Eucharistic theme!

The gospel today tells us that whoever does not eat the flesh of Jesus and drink his blood will not have life, but whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has eternal life and Jesus will raise him up on the last day! For the flesh of Jesus is real food and the blood of Jesus is real drink. He who eats the flesh of Jesus and drinks his blood lives in Jesus and Jesus lives in him. And as Jesus draws life from the Father, he who eats Jesus draws life from Jesus. Jesus is the bread come down from heaven. The Jews ate bread in the desert and they are dead. Whoever eats Jesus will live for ever!

We Catholics believe in the real and effective presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We Catholics believe that the Eucharist makes real, present and effective what Jesus did two thousands years ago, that is, his death, resurrection and outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the Eucharist! That is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from the Church. And that is why we cannot separate the Holy Spirit from God the Father and God the Son! The Holy Spirit is the love of God the Father given to us in God the Son. The love of God the Father revealed in God the Son is given to us in God the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! “The Holy Spirit is Holy Love”! (Fr. John Reilly, SJ)

At “the Communion Rite” at Mass, the priest breaks the body of Christ and puts a piece into the blood of Christ. This symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ! (GIRM 83.2) When body and blood are separated death occurs, but when body and blood are together life occurs! In Holy Communion we eat the body of the Risen Lord! The Risen Body that can enter locked doors and be at any place at an instance! A Risen Body not limited by time and space! (Jn 20) The Risen Body that can enter the bread and change it into His Body! The Risen Body that can destroy sin and death and give us new and eternal life! It is this Risen Body that we receive in Holy Communion! And we receive it in faith! Thus the priest says “the Body of Christ” and we respond “Amen”! “Amen” is a faith response! 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Wisdom invites the foolish to eat and drink at the banquet of life. Wisdom symbolizes Jesus Christ, the foolish symbolizes sinners and the banquet of life symbolizes the banquet of life of the Eucharist! In other words, Jesus invites us sinners to the banquet of life of the Eucharist to eat his body and to drink his blood so that we may have eternal life!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. (Ps 33 (34): 9; SM) The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for deliverance. (CSB) In the context of today’s readings and liturgy, it is a thanksgiving for deliverance from death by eating the body of Christ and drinking the blood of Christ in the Eucharist! Thus again, the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. This psalm was used in the early Church during the time of Holy Communion. (Fuller; Previous Sunday)

The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again, the second reading has something important to tell us! The second reading tells us three important things: (i) Do not be foolish, but be wise. (ii) Do not be ignorant, but know the will of God. (iii) Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit by singing psalms and hymns and by giving thanks to God the Father every time and everywhere through Jesus Christ. (Vat. II SM)

The third exhortation reminds us of “AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)” and the “Twelve Steps”, where alcoholics gather together anonymously to share and pray on the “twelve steps” to be freed from their addiction by the Holy Spirit! This spiritual programme is effective not only for alcoholics, but also for gamblers, over-eaters, drug addicts, sex addicts, emotions addicts, etc. Thus besides AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), we also have GA (Gamblers Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), SA (Sex Addict Anonymous), EA (Emotions Anonymous), OA (Over-Eaters Anonymous), etc. (HERALD, The Catholic Weekly, July 16, 2000)

Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the food of eternal life; and we ask God to give us the Holy Spirit, so that we will speak no evil and do no evil, and so that we will do good and seek after peace/shalom! (Responsorial Psalm; Fourth Stanza) And so that we will be freed from all forms of addictions! (Second Reading) A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you!  Amen!

The Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi (Year B) – 2nd June 2018

Theme: ONLY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST CAN PURIFY US FROM SINS 

  • Exodus 24:3-8;
  • Psalm 115 (116): 12-13. 15-18. R/ v. 13;
  • Hebrews 9:11-15
  • Mark 14:12-16. 22-26

Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The readings today tell us that the blood of animals cannot purify us from sins. Only the blood of Christ can purify us from sins.

The first reading tells us about the sealing of the Sinai Covenant. The Sinai Covenant was sealed with the blood of animals. Moses poured half of the blood of the animals on the altar and half of the blood towards the people. Blood symbolizes life and purification. The pouring of half of the blood on the altar and half towards the people symbolizes union and communion with God and keeping the commandments of God. Thus we read in the first reading:

“Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. ‘This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’” (Ex 24:6-8/SM)

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving to God for salvation from death. (CSB) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.” (Ps 115 (116): 13)

The second reading tells us that the blood of animals cannot purify us from sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can purify us from sins. The blood of animals can only purify us externally, ritually and legally, but the blood of Jesus Christ can purify us internally. The blood of Jesus Christ can purify us from sins, and save us from death, so that we serve the living God! Thus we read in the second reading:

“How much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.” (Heb 9:14/SM)

The gospel tells us of the institution of the Eucharist. (NJB) Jesus Christ instituted the Eucharist to give us his body to eat and his blood to drink; to forgive our sins, to save us from death, so that we serve the living God. Thus we read in the gospel:

“And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’” (Mk 14:22-25/SM)

Today in the Eucharist we will do the four actions that Jesus did in the institution of the Eucharist. We will take (Preparation of the Gifts/Offertory). We will bless/thank (Eucharistic Prayer). We will break (Break the Bread). And we will give (Holy Communion).

We will eat his body and drink his blood and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit to forgive our sins, and to save us from death, so that we will serve the living God!

Amen!

7th June 2015 – THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST / CORPUS CHRISTI

Theme: THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST PURIFIES US FROM OUR SINS SO THAT WE SERVE GOD 

  • Exodus 24:3-8;
  • Psalm 115 (116): 12-13. 15-18. R/ v. 13;
  • Hebrews 9:11-15
  • Mark 14:12-16. 22-26

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of “The Body and Blood of Christ” or “Corpus Christi”, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us that the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from our sins so that we serve God. The blood of Jesus Christ saves us from sins so that we inherit the kingdom of God.

The first reading tells us that God made a Covenant with the people of Israel through his mediator Moses at Mount Sinai. The people of Israel agreed to keep the commandments and laws of God. And Moses splashed half of the blood of the sacrificial animals on the altar and half on the people and the Covenant was sealed.

 

But the people of Israel did not keep their Covenant with God. They did not keep the commandments and laws of God. God had to make a New Covenant with them through a new mediator, a New Moses, Jesus Christ. And the New Covenant will be sealed not with the blood of animals, but with the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ!

Thus the gospel today tells us of the institution of the Eucharist. The gospel tells us that at the Last Supper, Jesus took some bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘take it, this is my body’. Then he took the cup, said the blessing and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I will not drink wine anymore until I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God’.

The gospel today tells us two important things, that is, the blood of Jesus Christ is poured out not only for the Jews, but for all peoples! The word “many” in Hebrew means “all” (Is 53:12; NJBC; CSB); although the new translation in the new Roman Missal reverts back from “all” to “many” in a literal translation of the Bible. In the New Covenant, the blood of Jesus Christ is poured out for all peoples, and not only for the Jews!

The second thing that the gospel tells us is that the Eucharist is an anticipation of the eternal banquet in heaven! That is, through the Eucharist, we will one day eat and drink of the eternal banquet in heaven! Thus we read in the gospel today:

“This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.” (Mk 14: 24-25; SM)

 

Indeed, the second reading tells us that the blood of Jesus Christ purifies us from our sins so that we serve God. The blood of Jesus Christ saves us from sins so that we inherit the kingdom of God.

The second reading also tells us that the blood of sacrificial animals can only purify us ritually, outwardly and legally, as in the Old Covenant, but the blood of sacrificial animals cannot purify us inwardly and spiritually. The blood of animals cannot purify us from sins so that we serve God. The blood of animals cannot save us from sins so that we inherit the kingdom of God.

 

The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for salvation! (CSB/HCSB/NJBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.” (Ps 115 (116): 13; SM)

And thus verses 13 and 17 of the responsorial psalm:

“The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name. …. A thanksgiving sacrifice I make: I will call on the Lord’s name.” (SM)

 

Today as we celebrate the Solemnity of “The Body and Blood of Christ”, or “Corpus Christi”, let us thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, especially for his Body and Blood, which we receive in the Eucharist, and let us ask God to continue to wash away our sins with the blood of his Son Jesus Christ so that we serve God. And so that we will be saved from sin and inherit the kingdom of God. A happy and blessed “Corpus Christi” to all of you!