Corpus Christi - The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - June 23, 2019
This Sunday we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist. We celebrate this event at every Mass and participate in the taking of the bread and the wine, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We celebrate the final sacrifice provided to us by our loving God, His only begotten son, who became our sacrificial lamb. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.
In our second reading from 1 Corinthians Paul relates for us what he was taught at the last supper concerning the bread and the wine. We recognize these words from Mass on Sunday when the priest holds up the bread and the wine and in the words of our Lord Jesus presents them to us and invites us to eat and drink and remember.
In the Gospel according to Luke, we witness the multiplication of the loaves and fishes for the very large group (over 5,000 men alone, plus women and children) of people gathered to see and hear Jesus. Jesus takes the loaves and fishes, looked up to heaven and said the blessing over them, then broke them and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Is it not interesting that after all ate and were satisfied, the leftover fragments were picked up and they filled twelve wicker baskets - a number matching that of the apostles. What Jesus did was enact the very sacrifice that we witness our priests enact to bring about the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ at every mass. Envision the physical actions and the prayers of Jesus - does he not look like a priest? He is our FIRST priest, and it is He who commissioned the twelve disciples as priests of His church and sent them forth to all nations. They will take the two lessons of today, the blessing of the gifts and the giving them to the masses, and what they will learn at the Last Supper and they will be priests who offer again, and again, the sacrifice of Jesus as our saving grace, our redemption.
"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 the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes."
That there were 12 baskets of leftovers should make us wonder if the 12 disciples were then filled with the priestly power to go forth bringing the Gospel of Jesus to all nations in every way that Jesus went forth, as they witnessed, to all people - "...feed my lambs...lead my sheep...feed my sheep...."
“Real life” is not what we are experiencing as we are, but what we will become and we will become what we are destined to be by reliving the Last Supper and eating the bread and drinking the wine which are the body and blood of our Lord Jesus, given in sacrifice for us. Our higher calling is to be like Jesus and to join Him and we cannot do that without accepting His sacrifice which will grant us the ability to transform. Each time you eat the bread, each time you drink the cup you proclaim the death of the Lord, which means you acknowledge the sacrifice given freely for you and you accept the precious gifts offered to you too - without reservation, or guilt. Just accept the gift in the Eucharist and you shall not hunger or thirst.
Do you recall large family gatherings, around meals, perhaps on Christmas, or Easter, or Thanksgiving? These meals were special because they brought people closer and love was the binding force across the table! When we think of these special meals, we are overcome with a sense of love, joy, and comfort. The Eucharist is that very special meal instituted by Jesus and carried on as a tradition throughout the family of man, the adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus. But the food and drink that Jesus has given us is not for our bodies so much as it is for our souls. As we celebrate that special meal, let us feel the love among us at the table and the comfort in our company as we realize the amazing and glorious reason and cause for our celebration!
Praise be to God! Now and forever!
The Psalm this week is Psalm 110: You Are A Priest Forever in the line of Melchizedek.
And who was this Melchizedek? The first reading for this Sunday is from Genesis 14:18-20, and reads as follows:In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem,
brought out bread and wine,
and being a priest of God Most High,
he blessed Abram with these words:
"Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
the creator of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your foes into your hand."
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
For historical/scriptural reference check out the Catholic Encyclopedia on the New Advent website (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10156b.htm).
You can see exactly why this Psalm is perfect for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - because there exist so many descriptions of Melchizedek that are like to Jesus.