Saturday, June 13, 2009

Eucharist – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

June 14, 2009

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.” Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.” Exodus 24:7-8

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer's ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:13-15

He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:24-25


We are a grateful people. We live our lives in Christ, whether we are aware of that or not. We have been baptized into his life which is more than the fact that we are created and born into this world in the image and the likeness of Christ. Baptism makes us temples of the Most High. We have become possessors of the life of Christ. We have been given his Spirit. Eucharist feeds us with the ongoing life of Christ in his Church. It makes it possible for us to grow in God’s life within us. When we ask Christ to come to us, he covers us with his love and forgiveness. God, the Father, sees his Son in what we have asked forgiveness for. He embraces us with the love of the cross which covers all the blackness of our sinfulness with the light of his love. In the giving of Christ, our real self is received.


Every time we approach Eucharist, it is not that we are just eating the body and the blood of Christ. We are participating in the most solemn act of love that is possible. Christ is once again giving us his body and his blood as our body and blood. His life is now our life. He has taken us into his very self. The human Christ of 2000 thousand years ago is safe in heaven. He will never suffer again in the body that was his. The people of God are the Church in the definition of Vatican II and the Church in the definition of the mystical Body is the Christ that we are all part of. We now in our suffering become the suffering of Christ for his Church. Christ had to die that we could be born into the life of Christ. God has loved us so much that God wanted to be one of us. And the Church is so grateful for this incredible love of God that we all together become the Mystical Body of Christ. In the Eucharist, a moment of time belongs to all time. Christ‘s death lives on in every celebration of Eucharist as the one and the same sacrifice of the Cross. The moment of time that we celebrate belongs to all time. It is the one and the same sacrifice. It is the unbloody sacrifice of the cross. The Last Supper, the first Eucharist, was an anticipation of the bloody sacrifice of the Cross. We see it through the eyes of faith now united to the physical dying of Christ on the Cross. All dying is caught up in his death. All suffering becomes redemptive in its union with Christ. Every time we make ourselves Eucharist for the needs of another, the ultimate meaning of life is realized in the love of Christ that captures all love. We no longer live, but Christ lives in us. We are the continuation of his love that captures the truth that wherever there is love, God is there. Love is forever.


So much can be said about Eucharist. It is where the heart of Christ beats in all of us. It unites us to all that is good about life. It gives us the perfect response to the love of God in our efforts to be one with Eucharist. It is the greatest gift that can be given to God on our part when we take up the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord. There is no other apostolic activity in our lives that can equal the return we make to God when we take up the cup of salvation and offer it in the name of the Lord. Precious in the eyes of the Lord are these moments when we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and we live in Christ. Truly we are a Eucharistic People!