Genesis 14:18-20

Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High. He pronounced this blessing:

“Blessed be Abraham by God Most High, creator of heaven and earth,
and blessed be God Most High for handing over your enemies to you.”

And Abraham gave him a tithe of everything.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.” In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial for me.” Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Luke 9:11-17

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the people away, and they can g to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.” He replied, “Give them something to eat yourselves.” But they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, “Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

Many of us know that today’s readings are talking about the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, but how many of us know that the readings are also talking about the sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony?

Brothers and sisters, have you ever looked down at your naked body and asked, “God, why did you make me this way?” A man’s body makes no sense without a woman, just as a woman’s body makes no sense without a man’s. And when we look at our body the way that God made it, we realize that, hey, maybe God is trying to tell us something by the way he made us. Maybe he’s trying to tell us how to live and to love in his image. Maybe he’s trying to tell us that we are to live and to love in communion.

In Holy Matrimony, husband and wife give each other their body in the act of marital union. This giving of self to each other represents how they are to give themselves to each other in the rest of their marriage as well. A husband does all that he does for his wife, and a wife does all that he does for her husband.

When the priest celebrates the Holy Eucharist, and when he says the words, “This is my body, which is for you”, he is not just saying something symbolically. The priest means it; he is really giving his body to us. And I say that this is the priest speaking, not just Jesus Christ. The priest gives us his body in the same way that Jesus gives us his body.

Jesus’ entire life was given to us, the people of God. Everywhere he went, he spoke to people about the kingdom of God. He healed those who were sick, fed those who were hungry, taught those who were hungry for truth. Our priests today do the same. By sacrificing the gift of marriage (see above) and having a family, he gives his entire life to God and the Church; he is married to God, and he is married to the Church because he acts in the person of Christ. He gives his whole body to the Church. All his time and energy goes towards building up the Church, and to make it holy.

When we come together to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, this is Jesus giving us his body. But we are not in communion with Jesus unless when we receive him, we too are giving him ourselves. We are not in communion with Jesus unless we are also loving him “with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our strength and with all our soul”. This is the communion that each of us, married or religious or priest, is called to celebrate each time we attend Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist.

Dear Lord, we pray that every time we eat your body and drink your blood, we may truly proclaim your death and renew our promise to love one another as you have loved us. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Giving us his body and blood.

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