Today is the Eucharistic feast of Corpus Christi which celebrates the body and blood, soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in the appearances of Bread and wine. It is the highest form of worship we can offer to God. In it we take the greatest act of Love and gift God has given to us and offer back to Him, just as the Psalmist has said in Psalm 116: “what can I offer to God for all His gifts to me? I will take up the chalice of salvation and offer to the Lord.” It reminds us of both a historical and sacramental reality. The one, who was crucified on that fateful Good Friday, is also the one that is received in the sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus Christ called the Eucharist. This reflection centers on the gospel reading from Mark.
The reader might be wondering why there is a mention of the Passover supper in connection with today’s celebration. It was during the Passover when the Passover lambs were killed that Jesus at table instituted the Eucharist. During the meal, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them saying: “Take this, this is my body.” He likewise took a cup, gave thanks and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: ”This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.” Jesus assures his disciples that he will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when he drinks it new in the reign of God. With this, Jesus makes a connection of the Passover and his death (Mark 14:12-16, 22-26). As we can see in the testimony of John the Baptist, Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). By this, he points to the sacrifice of the Passover lamb in the land of Egypt, which brought about the release of God’s people from their bondage and enslavement. By the Passover celebration of the Lamb, they were set free en route to the Promised Land, after crossing the Red Sea. As a result of the slaying of the lamb, with its blood put on the lintels of their houses, its flesh roasted and consumed with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, the first born of their enemies were slain by the destroying angels and the Israelite houses were spared. In the same way, with the crucifixion and death of Christ on the cross of Calvary, Jesus will achieve much more for us. The Eucharist re-enacts the sacrifice of Christ’s death on the cross, where he destroys for us Satan, sin and death, and wins victory for us.
This helps us to see the power in the Eucharist. Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, received in the Eucharist frees us from bondage and enslavement to Satan, sin and death. He does for us even much more, what was done by God for the Old Testament Israel. In him, we enter into the covenant of life with God; he shields us from the scorching heat of the desert, the biting scorpions, and from all other adverse conditions. He is the food for our journey, our viaticum, who sets us free in our earthly pilgrimage as we journey unto eternity. In this journey with Jesus, in Jesus and through Jesus, he gives us the foretaste of the future glory. He unites us with himself in his life, death and resurrection.
In our first reading, we see how the Eucharist is a communion of all God’s people with him and with one another. In the Eucharist, our covenant with Our God is ratified. That is why Moses erected an altar and after offering holocausts and sacrifices of young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord, he took half of the blood in large bowls. After reading aloud to the people from the book of the covenant, and getting their response of acceptance, he splashed on the altar the blood, and sprinkled the other half on the people, while telling them that it is the blood of the covenant with their God (Exodus 24:3-8).
In our second reading, the redactor to the letter to the Hebrews tells us that as high priest, Jesus entered once for all into the sanctuary, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, not with the blood of animals, but with his own blood, and achieved eternal redemption. With this he is the mediator of a new covenant (Hebrews 9:11-15).
Our attitude should be that of recognition and appreciation of what God has done for us, in our salvation history and throughout our lives. Today, let us make every effort to reciprocate this great Love of God for us by being truly a Eucharistic people.
O sacred banquet, in which Christ becomes our food, the memory of His passion is celebrated, the soul is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us. Help us to reverence the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood that we may constantly feel in our lives the effects of your redemption.