for Sunday, June 7, 2015
This mystery of the Body and Blood of the Lord is so shocking that most people cannot even believe. Even lots of people who go to Church regularly and who even receive communion do not believe that the bread and the wine of the Holy Mass really become the Body and Blood of Christ. So many people still believe that it is just a symbol and not a reality.
Our whole Catholic tradition has had enormous debates about this reality and always we end up with the same belief, if we are Catholics: the bread and the wine at Mass become truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ - not a symbol but a reality.
If God can become man, if Jesus can be truly God and truly man, then surely Jesus can give us Himself as a reality in the Holy Mass. Always we are brought to this point: do I believe that God has taken our human flesh and become one of us in the person of Jesus Christ?
The first reading today is from the Book of Exodus and speaks to us about blood and sprinkling in blood. We modern people often have no sense of blood and how it has been used by our ancestors as a sign of life, a sign of commitment and a sign of bonding with God and with others. We no longer have much contact with the killing of animals and even with human blood we have very little awareness. Our ancestors saw blood as a sign of life, as a way of commitment and as a way of bonding.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Hebrews and points out the obvious: human blood or the blood of animals is only temporary. The blood of Christ, however, is forever. Jesus is God and man and His sacrifice of His own life for us carries eternal and complete consequences for all of us.
The Gospel today is from the Gospel of Mark and gives the account of the Last Supper and the words of Jesus: This is my body! This is my blood!
The documents from the early Church show that the first Christian believers accepted this sacrament and realized that Christ is truly present. Some did not believe but then they left the Christian assembly. There was no philosophical vocabulary yet in place to describe this sacrament, but the writings are clear: Jesus becomes truly present in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
What is the difference? Does it make any difference? Surely those who believe that Christ is truly present have a different relationship with the Lord! When Jesus makes Himself present to us in the Eucharist, it allows us to develop a deep and personal relationship with the living God. This would not be possible if the Eucharist is only symbol and not reality.
When we live in a personal and close relationship with Jesus, our way of living the Christian life is different. Our Christian life is about a relationship with a living person: Jesus Christ. It is more about this relationship than it is about fulfilling any commandments or laws or expectations. Once we begin to live because we know that Jesus is present and loves us, then our life is a response to the present love of God.
Today as we celebrate this Solemnity, let us rejoice in the presence of the Lord. Let us deepen our love with the living God. Let us be aware of how much He loves us. May we respond every day with our own love, giving thanks for the gift of this Eucharist and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Exodus 24.3-8
Second Reading: Hebrews 9.11-15
Gospel: Mark 14.12-16, 22-26
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: