Saturday, June 09, 2007
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ - C
In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine,
and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these
words: "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and
earth; and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your
hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on
to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took
bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my
body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way
also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in
my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the
death of the Lord until he comes.
Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed
those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the
Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go
to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here." He said to them, "Give them some
food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we
have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now
the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his
disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty." They did so
and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two
fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke
them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all
ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked
up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
Today our celebration focuses in a very special way on the gift of the
Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. Perhaps today is a good
occasion to understand more deeply what we are up to when we come to
celebrate the Holy Eucharist.
The Eucharist is a celebration, a covenant, and a covenant meal. And
in every celebration, be it a birthday, a wedding or wedding
anniversary, a promotion, or victory, some elements are always
present. A celebration involves an event, a happening. We always ask,
"What are we celebrating for?" if we don't know the occasion.
Then there must be people involved. You don't usually celebrate just
by yourself. Next, there is always food. Since a celebration always
involves certain rituals, there may be ritual food like cakes for
birthdays and weddings.
In the Eucharist, we have all these elements. We remember the event of
the Last Supper, Christ celebrating with his apostles and friends
gathered for the Paschal meal in which he gave us his own body and
blood. There was food, the Paschal lamb, bread and wine.
The practice of the Covenant goes all the way back to the Old
Testament times. Among the Semitic people, when two tribes strike a
covenant concerning their land, they draw terms of agreement, and read
them in the presence of all the members of the tribes. Then they
slaughter an animal, cutting it in half. The leaders of the tribes
would walk through the middle of the two halves signifying that if
they violate or break the covenant, let what happened to this animal
happen to them. Then they sprinkle the people with the blood of the
slain animal. The blood signifies the life-source of the people. Then
the animal is roasted and eaten together with other food to celebrate
In the Book of Exodus, God, through Moses, called the Israelites to
journey (Passover) from Egypt, their physical slavery and sin, to the
freedom of the children of God. In the desert of Sinai God struck a
covenant with the Israelites: "You shall be my people. And I will be
Every year, the Jews celebrate this event with the Passover meal. And
it was in the context of this Passover meal that Jesus instituted the
Holy Eucharist: "This is my body, which will be given up for you ...
this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting
covenant. It will be shed for you and for all people so that sins may
be forgiven. Do this in memory of me."
After Pentecost, early Christians were remembering and celebrating
this event of the Eucharist in private homes because they were being
persecuted. When the number of people coming to the celebration
increased, a separate table was set for the minister of the Eucharist.
The biggest change came around the 4th century, when Emperor
Constantine was converted to Christianity. Christianity became the
official religion. Instead of celebrating the Eucharist in private
homes, which became too small for the large assembly, the Eucharist
was celebrated in public buildings called basilicas. For the sake of
acoustics, the ministers had to stay at the knave, where the voice
could be heard by the whole assembly. The result was a separation
between the clergy, who stayed in front and the people in the body of
Most often, people were so far away from the altar that many could not
see nor hear what was going on in front, much less to understand. And
less and less people knew Latin. So, people invented their own worship
in the form of rosaries, novenas, and other popular devotions.
Vatican II tries to bring back the spirit of community worship. If you
look at the structure and dynamics of the Eucharist, you would notice
that to properly celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the assembled people
must actively participate. They are no longer passive spectators.
Today, as we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord,
let us appreciate this most precious gift that God has given us. Let
us approach it with utmost reverence and gratitude, that you will be
transformed into Christ for the world.
We pray ...
.. for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
.. for the healing and speedy recovery of:
- Flory Bolante
- Gigi Dizon
- Eloisa and Charlize Sityar
- Fr. John Weyer
.. for the personal intentions of
- Noli and his family
.. for the strength and guidance of
- Lawrence Sityar
.. for the eternal repose of the souls of
- Julieta Maceda
- Jose Delfin
- Dr. Loy Custodio
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May they and all the souls of the dearly departed rest in peace.
.. for the safe trip and a new beginning for Mrs. Teresita Nunez Choa
.. for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Dodge and Robee
- In Memoriam (+): Amada Deseo
- In Memoriam (+): Isidro, Sr & Fausta Avendaño
- In Memoriam (+): Miguel C. Uy (Aug 4, 1931 - June 9, 2003)
.. for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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