|In archdioceses and dioceses of the United States and in other parts of the world where the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated.||In parts of the world
where the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated on June
19th, the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time is celebrated today. The Daily Reflection
and readings may be found here:
The 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26
Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 Jn 4:11-16
|So as to be more available to the graces of this feast, imagine
Jesus is baking the unleavened bread for the celebration of Passover.
While kneading the flour, he begins to smile. He wipes his hands
and writes a quick note to himself. Later, while setting out the
wine cups, he stops, puts his finger to the side of his mouth, smiles again
and writes one more note to himself.
We pray with our being sprinkled upon and given to. We pray with being remembered and being left with the means by which we can remember. We pray with our hands open to receive and our minds stubbing their toes on the threshold of mystery.
It all kind of makes sense, but there is always the unexplainable about Jesus' being available to us under deceptive, but utterly receptive conditions. It all starts with blood and sacrifice.
We hear in the First Reading about Moses' telling his followers all that he had heard from God concerning their cultic and personal lives. They all agreed saying, "We will do everything that the Lord has told us." He then did the usual ritual of slaying a bull and collecting the blood. For the Jewish people, blood was the life source and was a close connection with God as life source. He splashed half the blood on the altar of sacrifice as a sign of atonement and a peace offering for not having lived well the life of which God is the source. The rest Moses sprinkled on the people as they again professed that they would do everything the Lord had asked of them. They would live faithfully the life to which God called them through the laws and customs. The blood then sprinkled upon them was a sign of communal and personal union with the Life-Source. The blood of the covenant then was a double sign of both union with the God of the covenant and a pledge of fidelity.
The Gospel is Mark's account of the preparations for and celebration of the Passover. It is simple, detailed and clear. During the meal, there is the remembering of the short time the Jewish people had to get ready to leave Egypt, so no time for bread to rise. During the meal there are several blessings and sharings of wine, all in memory of who God has said the Jewish people are. They are called, saved and one holy people. It was a joyous celebration that evening of Jesus' last night before he handed his life over to his Father.
We say that we love God, but certainly in varying degrees of intensity. Any loving relationship shares that same kind of "come here/ go away" movement of feelings. Love itself has several levels of meaning. We can love meaning, appreciating someone who is good to us. We can love, meaning a feeling we have of gratitude. We can love, meaning a sense that we would do anything for that person. We can also love selfishly as well, greedily rather than gratefully.
I do not trust love as a feeling only. I seldom have a "lay-down-my-life" emotional relationship to Jesus and yet I would hope that beyond my feelings, my actions say more to me that I love Jesus.
"We will do everything the Lord has told us." What has the Lord told us? Remember me! Receive! Live! Do something lovingly! Jesus handed over his life to his Father and to his sisters and brothers. His life becomes our "Life-Source." We remember that; we re-member ourselves to him in sharing in his body and blood. We re-member ourselves to each other, because we share the one precious life offered for us and then to us. He told us to do this and so we try.
He told us to receive and so we do, but not the Precious Body and Blood only, but the preciousness of our bodies and those of others. We receive life through them and from them and reverence his real presence there in. Loving Jesus in his presence in the Eucharist is expressed in receiving and then doing something lovingly as an extension of that presence. You told us to love one another as well. Loving you privately is easier though. Doing little things in praise of you, but in secret, is less demanding. Could I just love you here in church and let the rest of the world go by, please? The hands that we extend to receive his body and blood are meant to be offered as gestures of his presence in lovingly doing something for his extended body. He has sprinkled his blood on the altar of the earth; he has shared his life-source with us that we may in deeds, do everything the Lord has told us. No, it is not easy to believe all that he has told us. Perhaps the most difficult challenge is believing not in his presence in what appears to be bread and wine, but his really being present in me and especially in thee.
"I will take up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord." Psalm 116
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