June 18, 2017: The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: Corpus Christi
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren:
You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother,. . . . You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal. . . . God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful. (1397) Catechism of the Catholic Church
First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Psalm: 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 10:16-17
Gospel: John 6:51-58
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.”201 In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” (1374)
It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion.
Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:
It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered.
And St. Ambrose says about this conversion:
Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed. . . . Could not Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature. (1375)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The Old Testament presents God as the omnipotent Creator (cf. Gen 2:2; Job 38-41; Ps 104; Ps 147) who fashions man in his image and invites him to work the soil (cf. Gen 2:5-6), and cultivate and care for the garden of Eden in which he has placed him (cf. Gen 2:15). To the first human couple God entrusts the task of subduing the earth and exercising dominion over every living creature (cf. Gen 1:28). The dominion exercised by man over other living creatures, however, is not to be despotic or reckless; on the contrary he is to “cultivate and care for” (Gen 2:15) the goods created by God. These goods were not created by man, but have been received by him as a precious gift that the Creator has placed under his responsibility. Cultivating the earth means not abandoning it to itself; exercising dominion over it means taking care of it, as a wise king cares for his people and a shepherd his sheep.
In the Creator’s plan, created realities, which are good in themselves, exist for man’s use. The wonder of the mystery of man’s grandeur makes the psalmist exclaim: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him little less than god, and crown him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Ps 8:5-7). (255)
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
Jesus says the bread He gives us is His flesh for the life of the world. As we journey along each communion line, at each Mass we attend, are we in rob mode or treasure the gift that transforms us to be life in the world? As Jesus is wholly present, body, blood, soul and divinity, are we wholly present in the moment to the reality of the gift, the grace of what we believe and celebrate? A gift that defies hoarding and perpetuates regifting. Do we waste the Eucharist, with nonchalantness, an attitude of repetitive obligation, a smugness of holy elitism or do we humbly appreciate with the only sincere reply possible in affirmation of belief. An Amen joyfully claimed and the spiritual desire for the Holy Spirit’s directive to be life in the world. As Jesus gives us the finest wheat, does our Amen affirm we will give our finest talents, treasures, desires, hopes, energy and passion living as a visible sign of the Body of Christ in the world? If we say Amen to the Body and Blood of Christ, do we say Amen unequivocally to the whole Gospel Jesus proclaimed as a mirror for our lives? Not ignoring challenges found in the Beatitudes. Not only espousing principles without serving the needs defined as a litmus test for salvation found in Matthew 25. Not chastising the perceived wayward souls, but joining them at the well to communally share living water. Not fleeing from the foot of the cross, but holding steadfast witnesses to perseverance. Venturing to tombs attempting to silence voices of the just and going forth to proclaim life anew. Jesus gives us the finest wheat, robust kernels of truth milled to perfection, shaped and formed to shape and form us as disciples of Eucharistic love, Eucharistic hope, Eucharistic peace. As the Eucharist gives us life, we become life in the world beyond dogma. A synergy of unity not constrained in a sanctuary, not constrained by clericalism, not thwarted by patriarchal regiments, but with the freedom given from the altar, we go forth to live the freedom present in our souls, from the Body and Blood of Christ. The source and summit of our faith defines our faith, sends us forth in faith when our eyes of faith lead us to say Amen.
Individual Reflection: John 6:51-58
During your vacation take time each day to attend Mass. Out of your normal routine, ponder the gift of Eucharist.
Family Reflection:Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20
June 18th marks the second anniversary of Laudato Si. Prayerfully reflect on its message:
Educate and act on its message:
Prayer: Let your Amen at communion resonate in the movements of your life
The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church. Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body – the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:”
If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond “Amen” (“yes, it is true!”) and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, “the Body of Christ” and respond “Amen.” Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true. (1396) Catechism of the Catholic Church. From St Augustine, Sermo 272
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Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born June 8, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.