Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord

Tomorrow we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord offered on the cross for our salvation. At the Last Supper Jesus said these words, “. . . this is my body. . . this is my blood of the covenant . . .” We reverence and adore Jesus’ Body and Blood which is poured out for us.

This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:

Corpus Christi is the wonderful feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. At the Last Supper, Jesus gave us the incredible gift of his own self in the Eucharist. We celebrate that on Holy Thursday. But the shadows of Good Friday mingle our joy with sorrow. So the Church gives us another feast to celebrate the gift with a complete joy that basks in the afterglow of Easter.

In this Gospel passage, Mark emphasizes that drinking the cup of Christ’s blood is to partake in the new covenant. What does this mean? For the ancient peoples, blood was a powerful symbol of life. To drink Christ’s blood means that we share in the very life of God. Jesus poured out his blood on the cross to atone for our sins and to unite us to the Father. “. . . the blood of his Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7).

Because we are so familiar with these ideas, it can become difficult to grasp what is really going on at Mass. It can become routine. When the Pope comes to visit our country, thousands of people flock to get a glimpse of him and hear his words. I’ve done that too and it’s very exciting. Yet, Jesus himself is made present in the Eucharist at every Mass, and where are the crowds straining to get in? Because Jesus has made himself so easily available, we can take his presence for granted.

Today is a good day to think about what the Eucharist means in our lives. Perhaps we might find time to linger awhile after Mass and pray before Jesus present in the tabernacle. He dwells with us out of love, and only asks for our love in return. A prayer by Saint Thomas Aquinas beautifully highlights the mystery of the Eucharist: “O Sacred Banquet, in which Christ is consumed, the memory of his passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.”

If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels of  Ordinary time in: Ordinary Grace Weeks 1-17.


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