Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Body and Blood of Christ

When the Second Vatican Council spoke about the Eucharist, they referred to it as the "Source and Summit" of the Church and it's life. The Eucharist offers us a foundation as well as an identity. The bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. In the Incarnation God is revealed in Jesus Christ, and now in the simplicity of bread and Wine God' love and plan of salvation are made known to us.

There is of course a very close relationship between the Manna in the desert and our participation in the Eucharist. God feeds the Hebrew people on their journey to the promised land. For us, God feeds us through our sharing in this perfect sacrifice. Through the celebration of the Eucharist (which means Thanksgiving, by the way) and our eating and drinking of this sacred sacrament, we are fed and nourished for our own journey. I often tell the story of one of the home visits I had made years ago. A woman, crippled by arthritis, found solace and relief each time she received the Eucharist.

To be sure this sacrament offers us courage and strength in our various tasks. It offers us the grace of the Father's love and forgiveness from those little pesky sins. When we are able to take time and reflect on the who and what we are receiving, our frequent reception helps us understand that that we have oneness with God through this sacrament.

At the Last Supper Jesus celebrated the Passover as he had so many other times in his life. What make this time different is that now the bread and wine take on a new character. Jesus exposes himself as the new and everlasting covenant. Jesus plainly states that this is his Body and Blood. More so this Body and Blood are to be the salvation of the world. In this sacrifice and meal we have unity and peace with God the Father and the world.

St. Paul will remind us today in the readings that this solemn sacrament we share in the one loaf and cup. Paul will go on to say that there must not be disharmony or disunity in our Faith community. Not only does this celebration bring about a unity in the midst of diversity, but calls to mind for us the commonality we share in the Eucharist.

What we share is a sacrifice and a meal which guide and direct us towards our salvation. The Word of God made flesh comes into our presence as real food and drink. May what we receive from the altar build us up in mind and body.

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