Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ- Year A: Reflections- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ- Reflections- Fr. Michael Udoekpo
Readings Year A: Deut 8:2-3,14b-16a; Ps 147:12-15, 19-20; 1 Cor 10:16-17 and John 6:51-58

Eucharistic nourishment, peace, love and unity

After the Pentecost the Church is blessed with three successive Solemnities- the Holy Trinity, the Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today, we celebrate the Second one, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ that goes back to the time of pope Urban IV in 1264. Every Mass is a remembrance of God’s Goodness and Love upon us. It is a sacrifice in the sense that Jesus died for us on the cross to bring us salvation. In every mass we are not only praising, or thanking God but we share in Jesus’ mission of Salvation. We give, we sacrifice, we unite, we receive, we become healed and experienced spiritual nourishment.

But the uniqueness of today’s Feast also lies in processional nature of the celebration. In those days, and even today in some places and churches depending on particular pastoral settings, after Mass, Jesus who is present in the Holy Eucharist is being carried in a joyful procession through towns’ and villages. The lessons include the fact that Christ travels with us, on our faith journeys. Christ loves all of us. Christ is there for us. He will always be present for the rich and the poor, men, women and children, and for ordinary people in towns and villages

We see this in today’s first reading when Moses reminded those travelling to the promise Land the goodness and he blessings of the Lord.  He set them from Pharaoh’s tyranny. He provided, water, food and manna for them in the desert when they were starving and thirsty (Deut 8:2-3, 14b-16a). The only God expects of us is keeping his commandments and loving our neighbors as he has first loved us.

In other words, Mass teaches us not to be selfish always, but to be united with generosity of Christ- like-Love. I grew up in a family of more than six children, with many nieces and nephews, meal time were always very important. We eat together, shared jokes and feel the love and support of our families’ members

I am very glad this is still going on today in most of our homes.  When family and friends get together, business and ministries’ groups meet or when celebrations are held it usually involves, food, snacks, coffees and drinks. When he establishes Mass, Jesus himself knew the importance of communal meal; it encourages love, peace and unity.

The more reason Paul says today, to a divided church,
“Brothers and sisters, the cup of blessings that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ, because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf,” ( I cor 10:16-17).

With the blessings of a priest the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ, we too are changed at every at Mass. And in receiving the precious body and blood of Christ we are transforming into the likeness of Jesus Christ who is the “living bread that came down from heaven and whoever eats this bread will live for ever.” (John 6:51-58).

We pray that our daily experiences of this loving presence of Christ in the Church and in the Holy Eucharist may constantly bring us and our neighbors, blessings of hope, love, peace and unity.