|by Angela Lambert|
June 18th,2017; Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
Gospel of John 6:51-58
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
Today we celebrate Christ’s gift of His Body and Blood. Consider the meaning of giving our body to another. Husband and wife express the intimacy and totality of their love in physical unity. Every new life enters the world through the sacrificial gift of a mother, who offers her body and blood to her child. Fathers invest their sweat and blood in their children as well in the myriad of ways they meet their children’s needs. How many dads have went to bed after a day of working to provide for their family, playing with their kids, building out part of the house to make room for more kids, or helping to finish their adult child’s basement saying, “my whole body hurts.” Even friendship is demonstrated in physical sacrifice. If you’ve ever called on friends to help you move, or been the friend who said yes to that call, you know what I mean!
The Son of God became man, in every way. He invested His mind and heart, and His body and blood. He desires nearness to us in the most intimate of ways. Jesus spent thirty-three years living humbly, and bringing tangible, immanent love to those He encountered. His sacrificial suffering and death of the Cross atoned for our sins, giving us new life as children of God for eternity.
Jesus instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist for two reasons. He established it as memorial so that His sacrifice on the Cross would be made present again every time the Mass is celebrated so that we might be nourished by its graces. Secondly, because He wants to be as near to us as possible. When we receive the Eucharist at Communion, Jesus offers Himself in the most intimate and loving way, like that of a husband and wife. Through His Eucharistic presence, He continues to be with us in a tangible way. Human beings need physical closeness, especially when we need comfort in sorrow or in expressions of love. Jesus Christ is, and will forever continue to be, both God and man. It’s easy to take His presence in the Eucharist for granted, especially when it requires the eyes and heart of faith. Today we take time to reflect as a Church on the beautiful, and mysterious gift, to cherish our Lord, and to deepen our appreciation for the sweat and blood He puts into His love.
- Consider the many ways we express love physically. Why is physical love so important? How does it create intimacy in relationships?
- Reflect on Christ’s physical expressions of love – during His hidden life, His public ministry, His sacrifice on the Cross, and His Eucharistic presence today.
- This year the Solemnity of Christ’s Body and Blood falls on the same Sunday as Father’s day. Consider the ways in which dad’s offer their bodies and blood for their families.
Make a Resolution (Practical Application):
- Visit Christ at Church this week. Spend time in prayer near the tabernacle, or at Eucharistic Adoration.
- Make a physical sacrifice of love for someone this week, in appreciation of Christ’s physical sacrifice.
~ Written by Angela Lambert © 2017
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