THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (C) – 23rd June 2019

Theme: THE EUCHARIST EFFECTS SALVATION

  • Genesis 14:18-20;
  • Psalm 109 (110): 1-4. R/ v. 4;
  • 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
  • Luke 9:11-17 

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or “Corpus Christi”! The gospel today tells us that Jesus fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fish! Indeed the Lord feeds us with the material food of creation!

But more importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus also feeds us with spiritual food! That is why the four actions of Jesus in today’s gospel correspond to the four actions of Jesus in the institution of the Holy Eucharist, that is, take, thank, break and give! In the Eucharist Jesus gives us his body to eat and his blood to drink!

This is expressed most clearly in the Gospel Acclamation today, especially when it is quoted in full from the Bible:

“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51; NJB)  

The second reading tells us about the institution of the Eucharist. It is the most ancient written account of the institution of the Eucharist in the New Testament, more ancient than even the gospel accounts. It dates back to 55 A.D. (CCB), that is, twenty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection!

The second reading tells us that in the institution of the Eucharist, Jesus did four actions, that is, (i) he took, (ii) he thanked, (iii) he broke and (iv) he gave.

He gave us his body and blood, that is, he gave us himself, his life, his Spirit! And he commanded us to do it in his memory, that is, to make present, real and effective his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

That is why the second reading concludes by telling us that when we eat the bread and drink the cup we are proclaiming the saving death of the Lord until he comes again when all will be saved! That is, The Most Holy Eucharist of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ effect salvation!

The first reading tells us about Melchizedek the priest-king. Melchizedek offered Abraham bread and wine, a symbol of the Eucharist! (Patristic tradition; NJB) Melchizedek blessed Abraham and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything!

The letter to the Hebrews (7:1-10) sees in Melchizedek a type of Christ! Melchizedek had no beginning and no end. He had no father or mother, no ancestor. He was like the Son of God! He was a priest forever! He was greater than Abraham! That is why he blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything! Melchizedek prefigured Jesus Christ!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response:

“You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.” (Ps 109 (110):4; SM)

That is, Jesus Christ is a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old!

The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas (vv. 1-2) tell us that God gives victory to his king! The third stanza (v. 3) tells us that the king is the “son” of God! And the fourth stanza (v. 4) from which the response is taken tells us that the king is the priest of God! Thus again the response:

“You are a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.” (Ps 109 (110): 4; SM) That is, Jesus Christ is a priest for ever, a priest like Melchizedek of old!

Today the priest continues in the priesthood of Jesus Christ! He does what Jesus asked him to do in his memory, that is, to make present, real and effective his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world!

Today the priest does the four actions Jesus did in the institution of the Eucharist, that is, he takes (Offertory), he thanks (Eucharistic Prayer), he breaks (Breaking of Bread) and he gives (Holy Communion)!

He gives the Body of Christ! He gives the Body of the Risen Lord! The Risen Body is symbolized by the placing of the small piece of the broken host in the chalice! And when we eat the bread and drink the cup we proclaim the saving death of the Lord until he comes again when all will be saved! Again, the Most Holy Eucharist of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ effect salvation!

Again, come to Mass every Sunday and tell others to come to Mass every Sunday! It is your salvation and my salvation! It is our salvation! A happy and blessed Corpus Christi to all of you! Amen!

References: New Jerusalem Bible (NJB); Christian Community Bible (CCB); Sunday Missal (SM).  

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!

CORPUS CHRISTI (BODY OF CHRIST) A – 18th June 2017

Theme: WHEN WE EAT THE BODY OF CHRIST WE EAT THE RISEN BODY OF CHRIST

  • Deuteronomy 8:2-3. 14-16;
  • Psalm 147:12-15. 19-20. R/ v. 12;
  • 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
  • John 6:51-58

A happy and a blessed Corpus Christi to all of you! “Corpus Christi” means “Body of Christ”! Today we celebrate the Solemnity of “The Body and Blood of Christ”, Liturgical Year A.

The gospel today tells us that if we eat the body of Christ and drink his blood we will live forever, but if we do not eat the body of Christ and drink his blood we will not have life in us!

It is most important to know that when we eat the body of Christ we eat the risen body of Christ! The transformed body of Christ! The gospel of John, chapter 20, tells us that after his resurrection Jesus could enter locked doors and be at any place at an instance! He was not limited by time and place!

In the same way his risen body can enter into the bread and change it into his body and when we eat the bread which is his body he can enter into us and change us into his body!

Again, when we eat the body of Christ we eat the risen body of Christ! At the “Breaking of Bread” the priest puts a piece of the bread into the chalice symbolizing the unity of the body and blood of Christ, that is, his resurrection and life! And when we eat his risen body we receive his Holy Spirit of eternal life! The risen Lord gives us the Holy Spirit of eternal life!

Thus we read in the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” (GIRM), number 83.2:

“The Priest breaks the Bread and puts a piece of the host into the chalice to signify the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation, namely, of the Body of Jesus Christ, living and glorious”.    

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading is a foreshadow of our Sunday Mass! The first reading has two parts. The first part tells us that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God! The second part tells us that God gave the people of Israel food and drink in the desert!

Our Mass also has two parts, namely, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist! Both parts are important! In fact, the Word gives faith and when we celebrate the sacrament of sacraments, that is, the mystery of mysteries, the Eucharist, with faith, the Holy Spirit will come and build the community, the Church and the Kingdom of God!

That is why the duty of the Bishop and his priests is to teach, to sanctify and to govern, that is, to teach the Word of God, to sanctify with the Sacraments and to build the community, the Church and the Kingdom of God! And the first of the three duties is to teach the word of God!

And that is also why we must not come late for Mass and miss the Word of God. Instead, we must come early for Mass to read the word of God before Mass to prepare ourselves for the Mass!

 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that “God’s Word Restores Jerusalem” (Catholic Study Bible (CSB)). Again, the importance of the word of God! The word of God in creation and the word of God in salvation! Verse 15 tells us of the word of God in creation:

“He sends out his word to the earth and swiftly runs his command”.

Verse 19 tells us of the word of God in salvation:

“He makes his word known to Jacob, to Israel his laws and decrees”.   

That is why in the BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) we share and pray personally and spiritually on the Sunday Mass readings! We can celebrate the Word without the Eucharist, but we cannot celebrate the Eucharist without the Word! In our BECs we do not celebrate the Eucharist, we only celebrate the Word! We celebrate the Eucharist in the Church where and when all the BECs are gathered together as One Big Community!

 

The second reading tells us that when we receive Holy Communion, we are in communion with God and with one another! That is, we are in love and unity with God and with one another! Two Sundays ago, on Pentecost Sunday, we have seen that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of love and unity. Last Sunday, Trinity Sunday, we saw that the Holy Trinity is the mystery of God’s love and unity. Today, Corpus Christi, we see that our Eucharist is a Eucharist of love and unity! That is why we build small Christian communities of love and unity! That is why we build BECs!

At the Communion Rite the priest breaks the bread symbolizing that though we are many we make up one body of Christ! Thus we read in the GIRM, no. 83.1:

“The gesture of breaking bread done by Christ at the Last Supper, which in apostolic times gave the entire Eucharistic action its name, signifies that the many faithful are made one body (1 Cor 10:17) by receiving Communion from the one bread of life, which is Christ, who for the salvation of the world died and rose again”.

Together with “1 Cor 11:23-26”, the second reading today is the most ancient written text on the Eucharist (56 A.D.)!

Now to complete our understanding of the Eucharist let us look at “1Corinthains 11:23-26”:

“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (CSB) 

This text tells us 4 important things:

(i) The four actions of the Eucharist: (a) take (offertory), (b) thank (Eucharistic Prayer), (c) break (breaking of bread), (d) give (Communion).

(ii) Jesus’ self-giving in his body and blood.

(iii) We are to repeat Jesus’ action in remembrance of him.

(iv) The last verse which we acclaim at “The mystery of faith”: “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your (saving) Death, O Lord, until you come again (when all will be saved)”.

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!