A reflection on this solemnity’s reading
By Fr. Robert Leus, CJM & Bro. Ron Calderon, CJM
In every mass, we do not only commemorate the events that took place in the past, we actually celebrate and participate an event in the past that has become truly present. Only one event can be shared across time and space, and this is the Holy Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ offered at Calvary and prefigured at the last supper.
This way, the Eucharist is not just a holy meal we share, it is also a holy sacrifice for the sake of of the covenant with our Father in heaven.
This Sunday we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which is more popularly known as Corpus Christi Sunday. The blessed covenant our Lord established with his people, his disciples, is not through the blood of animals that are sprinkled to the people celebrating an ancient ritual. It is no other that the offering of our Lord’s very blood to redeem the world from sin, in order for him to claim us as his own in the heavenly kingdom.
At the last supper that we heard from the gospel of St. Mark, our Lord offered himself as bread and wine to the apostles. The bread and wine, whenever shared at the holy sacrifice of the mass, transforms into the very body and blood of Christ that we share. Hence what we receive are not just ordinary bread and wine. Moreover, what we celebrate and receive are not just memorabilia or symbols of the past. This is not just a representation of the renewed covenant of God with us.
What we receive and share are the real body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ that kept on reminding us that he is always with us. Whenever we eat his body and drink his blood, we proclaim the identity of Jesus Christ - the blood of the new covenant! The fulfillment of the promised salvation of the entire creation.
We heard from the first reading from the book of Exodus that the blood seals the covenant when God first extended his promise to Israel. Lamb’s blood was offered and brushed to the house entrance in order to save the Israelites and their children from the last plaque that befell the children of Egypt during the time of Moses. Afterward, God tirelessly reminded His people over and over in history and their response was lip service: “All the law of our Lord we will follow!”
We know what happened, Israel repeatedly broke the covenant with God. They broke the spirit of the Mosaic Law many times, prophet after prophet. They followed the letter of the law, but became legalistic, and lacked the sincerity of their hearts to the promise they first made with God. Everyday they lived lives blind of all their misgivings against the covenant. This very hypocrisy, Jesus faced in his lifetime, that even led his to be sentenced to death.
But because of the great love of God, He did not think twice to pay for our sins. God paid dearly with the very blood and life of His Son, our Lord Jesus, who continues to this day to share himself, body and blood, to all of us. He does it tirelessly in the Holy Eucharist because He wants us not just to remember, but live sacramentally and in daily life, the sacred covenant with the Father.
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT: FOR THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT: FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT, WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
Even though at times, it loses its power and influence over us, Jesus in this mystery continues to call and tell us to come to him. Jesus brings his holy sacrifice at Calvary to our presence in the holy eucharist so that we can have a share in the life giving covenant with God.
The second reading tells us this. That Christ came, the high priest of the covenant, to offer his blood and life. He is the one who cleanses hearts and minds and put meaning to life on earth. He then allows us to live in the Good News so that we can be, in return, instruments to proclaim to others the meaning of this holy sacrifice that the Lord Jesus offered and continues to offer.
That is why in our response of AMEN at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer in the mass, we proclaim our faith to God and more. That we profess that the promised salvation is already in our very hands.
Let us remember that Christ has already won over sin and he has also claimed victory over death.
Our victory has become reality when Christ came to our lives. This victory that we share is also a privilege that we receive in the mass that we together celebrate. This privileged victory we celebrate weekly reminds all, that his body and blood is the unending act of God to share his covenant with us till the end of time.
And my plea to everyone here is to be the very body and blood of Christ to our neighbors, in word, and in deed. Be the bread for others that inspires love and hope. May we truly become what we partake of in the holy eucharist.