Sunday reflection by Very Reverend Stephen E. Salocks, Rector of Saint John's Seminary - June 6, 2021
On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), we celebrate the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Today, the Church’s prayers and scriptures focus on the reality of our communion with our Lord and Savior in and through the Blessed Sacrament. The Church, as the Body of Christ, gathers to listen to Christ present in the Word proclaimed, to pray with Christ present in the priest-presider, and to receive Christ’s Body and Blood in Holy Communion.
Last week, we celebrated the Holy Trinity, a unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in one God, and heard the promise of Jesus to be with his disciples to the end of the age. Today, we recognize and celebrate his presence with us in the Eucharist. Christ is the Way to the fullness of life in God.
Of course, God has been calling his people into covenant and communion for thousands of years. Having been freed by God from slavery in Egypt and fed by God with bread and water in the wilderness, the people of Israel received the commandments of the covenant from God on Mount Sinai. In today’s First Reading, Moses formalizes the covenant with sacrifice and the sprinkling of blood on the altar of sacrifice and the people as a way of expressing God’s sharing of life with the people.
Centuries later, the Eternal Word, the Son of God, became flesh and came as High Priest mediating a new covenant. The Second Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that Christ established the new covenant not with the blood of animals but by offering himself “unblemished to God” and shedding his own blood to make redemption, forgiveness, and deliverance available to everyone.
The Gospel of Mark today brings us back to that specific moment of the Last Supper when Jesus, on the night before he sacrificed himself on the cross, blessed, broke, and shared the bread that he declared is his body and blessed the cup of wine that is his “blood of the covenant… shed for many.” Every time we come to Mass and every time we approach the altar, we hear the invitation of Jesus to “take and eat … take and drink.” His invitation to us is just as fresh, dynamic, and life-giving as it was to those first disciples in the upper room. Our Lord is always inviting us to receive his Real Presence and share his life in the Eucharist. Through the Eucharist, He fulfills his promise to remain with us and nourishes us in the life of discipleship. Here is the expression and the reality of our communion with our Lord and Savior.
Today we pray that, as our Lord feeds us with His Body and Blood, he will continue to guide us and help us grow in holiness and communion with him and with one another. May we always be thankful for his Real Presence in our lives and be ready to share the life and love he gives us in the Eucharist with others.