“Take it,” he said, “this is my body.”

Feasts are established by the Church to strengthen faith. This feast is no exception. The readings for today’s Mass describe the ritual actions of Moses’ pouring blood on the people. Why? To help them remember God’s commands. The second reading speaks of Jesus pouring out his blood on all people. This priestly act effectively redeemed the world from the Father’s displeasure. Then, the Gospel narrates how Jesus established the sacrament of Eucharist as the means of continuing His saving death. The Gospel is also well, set around a celebrational liturgy. It begins with a picture of preparing for the Passover which recalls the blood of the Passover lamb being sprinkled on the door posts of the Israelites to keep them safe from the final plague in Egypt. It seems that Jesus has made reservations for a certain “upper room” and the disciples are shown the place and begins the setting for something new coming through the old. Sharing a meal with friends or family can be an ordinary everyday occurrence, or it can be the way we mark the most special of occasions. It is a way to come together, to share in food and drink, but also to enjoy each other’s company – to talk, laugh, cry and eat.

There is tremendous meaning in the word “communion” which describes our reception of the Body and Blood of Jesus. Just as Jesus at the Last Supper passed around the one chalice, so too, we share the one bread and the one cup at every Mass. First, we adore, then we receive, then we become the food we have received. We are truly one body in Christ. Strengthened and transformed in love, truth, and joy through the Spirit, we are ready to share the fruits of love, compassion, forgiveness, service, and all the rest of the great fruits of the Spirit with our brothers and sisters.

When Jesus comes together to share a final meal with his disciples, he breaks bread, shares it with them, and tries to prepare them for what will happen next.  Each time we come to the Eucharist, we share in this meal, and we share in the body and blood of Christ. But the Eucharist also commits us to sharing with people who are poor and marginalized. As St John Chrysostom said, “You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother… You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food, someone judged worthy to take part in this meal.” And yet, throughout the world there are millions of people who are denied the opportunity to get enough food to eat. Despite the abundance of the creation that God has given us, and the fact that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, some people cannot get what is rightfully theirs.

Jesus gives us himself to take away and use wisely in our daily life. We can be as prepared as we like but when the time comes the experience and our reactions will be different to how we expected. Jesus gives his blood to assist us in our lives. This is awesome. May it penetrate to the depths of our souls and may we use them as only Jesus knows. Christ Jesus, as we share in the bread of life that only you can give, may we be inspired to make a change so all people may claim their fair share of the goods you give for all. Amen.

I recommend that you read this Homily from the Holy Father

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2 Responses

  1. When we consume the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we become one with HIs oblation. As such, we offer ourselves with His/our Gift on the altar in thanksgiving, for the sins of the world, and to release the Lord’s mercy and power upon the earth. If we hold back in any way, our offering is not sincere. Freely we have received. May we freely give. (Matthew 10:8)

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