Saturday, June 21, 2014
The Body and Blood of Christ, Solemnity
The Body and Blood of Christ, Solemnity
Dt 8: 2-3, 14b-16a / Ps 147: 12-13, 14-15, 19-20 (12) / 1 Cor 10: 16-17 / Jn 6: 51-58
First Reading: Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 14b-16a
Remember how Yahweh, your God, brought you through the desert for forty years. He humbled you, to test you and know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He made you experience want, he made you experience hunger, but he gave you manna to eat which neither you nor your fathers had known, to show you that man lives not on bread alone, but that all that proceeds from the mouth of God is life for man. Do not forget Yahweh, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery. It is he who has led you across this great and terrible desert, full of fiery serpents and scorpions, an arid land where there is no water. But for you he made water gush forth from the hardest rock. And he fed you in the desert with manna which your fathers did not know.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion with the blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is it not a communion with the body of Christ? The bread is one, and so we, though many, form one body, sharing the one bread.
Gospel: John 6: 51-58
I am the living bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is my flesh and I will give it for the life of the world." The Jews were arguing among themselves, "How can this man give us flesh to eat?" So Jesus replied, "Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood live with eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. My flesh is really food and my blood is drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood, live in me and I in them. Just as the Father, who is life, sent me and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats me will have life from me. This is the bread which came from heaven; unlike that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever."
The Church celebrates one of the deepest mysteries of our faith with the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is difficult to exhaust the full meaning of Corpus Christi but we can somehow explore some aspects of it.
When we hear the Body of Christ, what comes to mind may be our understanding that Christ is the head while we represent the Body of Christ. Moreover, we would readily associate the Body of Christ with the Eucharist as we receive Jesus in Holy Communion. In this regard, we can appreciate better this feast when we explore the community dimension of the Eucharist.
Sad to say there are many who are not able to appreciate the communal dimension of the Mass. There is a lack of participation in the singing and responses so that the mass is hardly a celebration. It is then not surprising that many of the faithful find the mass quite boring and repetitious. Yet, the reality is that the Eucharist is essentially and of its very nature a community action in which each person present is expected to actively participate. In this regard, we are able to be one with Jesus in his Paschal Mystery - his life, suffering, death and resurrection. Such desire to be one with Christ is expressed not through a one-on-one relationship with him but in a community relationship with him present in all those who call themselves Christians. We relate to him through his Risen Body, which is the whole community bearing his name. There is no place in Christianity for individualism. It is a horizontal faith: we go to God with and through those around us. And so, every Sunday, we come together as that Body, as a community, to express our gratitude which is another meaning of the Eucharist.
However, we know that there lies a mentality among us to see one's going to Church as simply an obligation and a fulfillment of a commandment. Somehow it becomes a purely private, individual, devotional basis and thus, it is not surprising if we think it does not matter if we are late or leave early because, with that mentality, going to Mass is a private affair for me and all the others who happen to be there, too. Perhaps, some would rather be left to themselves to pray on their own like the rosary. But this kind of prayer and extended contemplative or meditative prayer is better done outside the Mass.
To be present in the Mass means to allow ourselves to celebrate joyfully together with fellow Christians as a community of the disciples of Jesus. Such coming together and celebration is further realized in the partaking of the body and blood of Christ. We share in the self-offering of Jesus whenever we receive Jesus in Holy Communion which would show its effects in our daily lives particularly in our capacity to share. In doing so, we witness to the words of Jesus who made this remark regarding those who may be considered his friends: "By this will all know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another" (John 13:35) and "May they all be one... may they be so completely one that the world will realize that it was you [the Father] who sent me" (John 17:21,23).
Having this mentality of a community in the celebration of the Eucharist may then allow us to defocus from the pre-Vatican II celebration of the mass which was purely priest-centered Eucharist at which the laity were passive spectators to the present celebration of the mass which is community centered because that is where Christ is to be found. The priest still has his role, of course, as the one who presides. He is the focal point of unity around which the community gathers, but it is the community, including the priest, that celebrates.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
... for the repose of the soul of Tony Goquinco
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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