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(Part 32)


Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 18, 2017

Today’s readings:
Deuteronomy 8:2-16
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
John 6:51-58

The greatest prod to and foundation for unity in the body of Christ is the Eucharist. It is the partaking by all Catholics of the body and blood of Jesus. “The cup of blessing 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?” (1 Cor 10:16). Of course it is. So what is the implication of that for us all? “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” (1 Cor 10:17).

God had tested His chosen people in the desert. He disciplined them through affliction. But all of that was just a prelude to the wonderful blessings that awaited those who remained faithful and obedient. God afflicted them but also provided for them. “He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your ancestors” (Dt 8:3a). For those who passed the test, who underwent the disciplinary formation, there awaited great prosperity. “For the Lord, your God, is bringing you into a good country, a land with streams of water, with springs and fountains welling up in the hills and valleys, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, of olive trees and of honey” (Dt 8:7-8).

In the desert, what sustained them was the manna. What assured them of a great future was the manna. God “fed you in the wilderness with manna, a food unknown to your ancestors, that he might afflict you and test you, but also make you prosperous in the end.” (Dt 8:16).

What about now? We who are God’s people have also gone astray, and thus reaped the consequences--God’s chastisement and the discipline inflicted by the Father on His wayward children. At times the trials and suffering are unbearable. On our own we would not be able to withstand them. But again, God comes to our rescue. In this valley of tears, in this desert of affliction, God from heaven provides us the new manna. It is the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; .... and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51a,c).

Manna enabled the Israelites to live in the barren desert. So too, in today’s spiritually barren world, does the Eucharist give us life, even to life eternal. Jesus says, “whoever eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51b). “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn 6:58).

The Eucharist is God’s provision to sustain us in this darkened world. It strengthens us to withstand the oppression and sufferings in life. It gives us spiritual life on earth, and assures us of eternal life in heaven. It unites us as one body for the sake of mission.

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Pastoral input (may be discussed in households)

Manna was a food unknown to our ancestors-in-faith. How about the Eucharist? Do we truly believe in our hearts the reality of its being the body and blood of Jesus? The Jews did not (Jn 6:52).

If we truly believe in the reality, do we then give it the respect, reverence and awe that is due?

  • Fervent confession of sin before partaking of Holy Communion.
  • Reverential approach to receiving Communion.
  • Fervent prayers of thanksgiving after Communion.

As we partake of the Eucharist each and every week, do we strive for the unity that it fosters, being O.N.E. in Christ, both in our parishes and in CFC-FFL? Are we peacemakers?

Do we strive to grow in holiness, having Jesus physically present in the temple of the Holy Spirit which is our body?

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, we are told to “Go.” Do we go forth for the rest of the week, onward to New Evangelization, with great zeal for the Kingdom?

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