June 3, 2018 The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Deacon Steve Whiteman

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Reading 1 EX 24:3-8

Responsorial Psalm PS 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18

  1. (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

Reading 2 HEB 9:11-15

Alleluia JN 6:51

Gospel MK 14:12-16, 22-26

2/3 Jun 2018                                  a Eucharist Connection

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to receive many hand tools as gifts. I enjoy woodworking and occasionally getting my hands dirty working on the cars or lawnmower. The tools I value the most were given to me by my father and father-in-law. Using them brings back many great memories such as:

  • Working with my Dad in our garage as I was growing up. He had a lot of patience when he taught me how to work on my bike, lawnmowers and cars.
  • And memories of my late father-in-law who worked as a tool and die maker until he was 80…he was a true craftsman with a passion for his work.

When using these tools, I try to honor these memories and the connection to these men who gave them to me.

It’s natural to make a connection to another person using a physical object. The wedding ring is another example. The wedding ring I wear is a symbol of my love and dedication to Christy and our 30 years of marriage. It’s round shape has no beginning or end and symbolizes an eternal connection.

Today we celebrate another connection that is much more than a symbol. Today we celebrate Corpus Christi or the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This feast day is special because we honor a foundational truth of the Catholic Church: the Body and Blood of Jesus is truly present in the bread and wine we eat and drink at Mass.

This special celebration was started by Pope Urban IV in 1264. One of the events that inspired this feast day was a Eucharistic miracle that happened during a Mass in 1263 in Italy. A priest was celebrating Mass at the tomb of St. Christina and when he raised the host, blood started to trickle over his hands and onto the altar. After a year of investigations, the miracle was confirmed and led to our celebration today.

Our Gospel today from St. Mark is from the Last Supper when Jesus gave us this special gift of the Eucharist. This gift of Himself in the consecrated bread and wine IS his true Body and Blood.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, His one eternal sacrifice is made present at every Mass.

In St. Luke’s account of the Last Supper, Jesus tells us: “do this in memory of Me.” Every time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, it should remind us of His love for us. We have the Eucharist because of the loving sacrifice He made for us in His death and resurrection. Receiving the Eucharist allows us to make a tangible and divine connection to Jesus. This connection allows us better reflect on His love for us and the plan He has for our lives.

Since Jesus is truly present in Holy Communion It allows us to deepen our relationship with Him. Every time we receive Him in a state of grace, we grow a little closer to Him. As the saying goes…”you are what you eat.” The Eucharist not only opens our eyes to Jesus, it opens our eyes to one another and the suffering they may be going through. Jesus told us that when we give to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless and anyone else in need, we are doing it for Him. We serve Christ by serving the poor and at the same time, we can become the face of Christ to those we serve.

The Eucharist connects us with Christ but also allows us to make a connection to each other. The Fathers of the Church often spoke of the unifying power of the Eucharist. St. John Chysostom wrote that those who receive the Eucharist become the Body of Christ…not many bodies, but 1 Body. Just as bread is made up of many grains, together they form one loaf. The Eucharist brings us together in all of our diversity and allows us to celebrate our unity, in the Body of Christ.

St. Augustine proposed that the Eucharist is both a gift and a task. We receive the gift of Christ in Holy Communion, but are challenged to live our lives using His example. We are reminded of this at the end of every Mass. After Father gives us the final blessing we hear: go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life.

Many of you know this but it’s worth repeating: our Church of the Nativity is the only parish in Dubuque that has a Mass on Saturday mornings. This Mass is at 8am every Saturday and lasts about 45 minutes. It does not replace your Sunday obligation but is another beautiful opportunity to experience the Eucharist.

As we prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist this (evening/morning), let us pray for a special connection with Him and each other.