26 Jun – Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi)
The Food And Drink Of Eternal Life
God kept his people alive in he desert by giving them food and drink from heaven. The food and drink he gives us in this sacrament is the body and blood of his Son, given for the life of the world.
– The Sunday Missal
Moses said to the people: ‘Remember how the Lord your God led you for forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, to test you and know your inmost heart – whether you would keep his commandments or not. He humbled you, he made you feel hunger, he fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known, to make you understand that man does not live on bread alone but that man lives on everything that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
‘Do not become proud of heart. Do not forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery: who guided you through this vast and dreadful wilderness, a land of fiery serpents, scorpions, thirst; who in this waterless place brought you water from the hardest rock; who in this wilderness fed you with manna that your fathers had not known.’
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf.
Jesus said to the Jews:
‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’
Then the Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’
He fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known
Most of us were taught that things can be placed into neat categories. Living and non-living, mammals and non-mammals, two-legged and four-legged, hardcover and soft-cover; these groupings help us identify objects and creatures around us. Perhaps such lessons lead us to think about people in terms of classifications too: tall and short, big-footed and tiny feet, beautiful and ugly. So what are we to make of a man who has died but still lives, and tells us we too will live forever if we have the real food and the real drink? That seems to go beyond the realm of what we can classify.
A statement made in the first reading and repeated in the gospel give us a hint to how we can perceive the Body and Blood. Moses told the people that God was going to give ‘manna that your fathers had not known’, and Jesus said he wanted to give the bread unlike what ‘our ancestors ate’. Each time, God came up with a unique recipe and made bread for exactly what his people needed. That is how innovative God is. It seems he wants to give in new ways to provide for what we need and want, even beyond what we know or dream of.
Each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we take in what is unchanged and what is changed, a man who died but now lives. If we want to, we can receive the Body which resembles the bread which generations have known, and, at the same time, the Body that is exactly what we need at that moment. Strength, wisdom, comfort, peace, love, patience – the Body we receive is all of those (and more), yet is unlike what we know previously, because our needs are constantly changing. If we trust more and more to say, “I will receive the best from Him” at each Mass/Meal, we shall not die of thirst no matter what waterless place we are in.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Melissa Chia)
Prayer: We pray that does who do not yet believe may come to know the hope found in your Body and Blood. Amen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for the mysteries of the Eucharist that inspires us to know Jesus more.
Mon, 27 Jun – Genesis 18:16-33; Matthew 8:18-22; Memorial for St Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Tue, 28 Jun – Genesis 19:15-29; Matthew 8:23-27; Memorial for St Irenaeus, Bishop & Martyr
Tue, 28 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 3:1-10; Galatians 1:11-20; John 21:15-19; Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul, Apostles (Vigil Mass)
Wed, 29 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 12:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:6-8.17-18; Matthew 16:13-19; Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul, Apostles (Mass of the Day)
Thu, 30 Jun – Genesis 22:1-19; Matthew 9:1-8; Memorial for the First Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church
Fri, 01 Jul – Deuteronomy 7:6-11; 1 John 4:7-16; Mathew 11:25-30; Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sat, 02 Jul – Isaiah 61:9-11; Luke 2:41-51; Memorial for the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Sun, 03 Jul – Zechariah 9:9-10; Romans 8:9.11-13; Matthew 11:25-30; Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time