Feast of Corpus Christi

In modern times there are so many people that don’t believe in God. Even more than that, there are people who do believe in God but don’t believe that we owe God anything. It is a challenge for many people to understand the idea of worship. It is a challenge for many people to think that we need to include worship in a relationship with God. Many people believe that a simple one on one conversation with God is enough. Catholics believe that one’s relationship with God includes both worship and also personal dialogue in prayer. The people during the days of Jesus focused very heavily on worship and sacrifice.

For the people at the time of Jesus, the idea of worship included sacrifice. The ancient Jews would sacrifice an animal such as a goat or small bird with the intention of offering atonement for their sins. They had the idea that the blood of the animal would satisfy God and pay the price for their sins. This comes from centuries of many people throughout the world doing the same thing. It is a universal ancient concept that sacrifice somehow satisfies God.

However, we are told in the Old Testament repeatedly that such burnt offerings and animal holocausts are empty in the sight of God. “It is a contrite heart I desire says the Lord.” In other words, Scripture is telling us that animal sacrifices mean nothing to God. God desires our love. God desires our contrite heart in response to our sins. God desires us to be truly sorry out of love for Him. It is our true sorrow and then subsequent intent to amend our lives that truly pleases God.

As a Jew, Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples. this was the Jewish celebration of being set free from slavery in Egypt by the power of God as He led Moses who in turn led the people. Traditionally, a lamb was offered as sacrifice in the moment of worship. It was a meal sacrifice. The Jews would offer the lamb to God and then eat the lamb. This showed communion with God and one another.

Jesus becomes the Lamb of God. He is the sacrifice that atones for all sin for all time.

Jesus transformed this feast of Passover and instituted Holy communion. We hear Jesus say in today’s Gospel, “This is my Body”. This is my Blood”. Jesus makes Himself the sacrifice. Jesus offers Himself in our place. On the Cross, Jesus offers Himself in bloody sacrifice for the atonement of all sin. He pays the price for us. When we sin, we owe God reparation for the damage done to the relationship. God does not desire a bloody sacrifice, but does desire an act of love from us towards Him. Jesus offers Himself on the Cross as the greatest act of life possible. For there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jesus does this for every human being. It is the greatest act of love.

By transforming the Passover feast Jesus not only becomes the Lamb of God in sacrifice but He also changes the nature of the meal shared during worship. By saying this is my body, Jesus now brings us into Holy Communion with God through Him. We receive communion with Christ and have Communion with God.

Jesus is both the sacrifice and Holy Communion.

This is the feast we celebrate every Sunday. This is why Christians seek Communion. In this moment of worship we are receiving our God.

Today as we receive His Holy Word in the Gospel, let us marvel at what He has done for us. Our understanding has been lifted up. We move from the empty sacrifice of the ancient world into what truly matters to our God. Jesus shows us the way because He is the way for us to have Communion with our God.

Today let us resolve to be grateful for this great gift. Let us in turn follow His example of sacrifice and love. Let us reach out to those we love and perform as many acts of love as we can possibly imagine. Acts great and small. If we do this, then we will follow the example of Jesus and we will be in communion with our God.

A reading from the Book of Exodus

When Moses came to the people
   and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,
    they all answered with one voice,
   “We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
   rising early the next day,
   he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
   and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites
   to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls
   as peace offerings to the LORD,
   Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
   the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
   who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
   “This is the blood of the covenant
   which the LORD has made with you
   in accordance with all these words of his.”

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

R. :

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

How shall I make a return to the LORD
   for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
   and I will call upon the name of the LORD.

R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Precious in the eyes of the LORD
   is the death of his faithful ones,
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
   you have loosed my bonds.

R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

To you will I offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
   and I will call upon the name of the LORD,
My vows to the LORD I will pay
   in the presence of all his people.

R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Second Reading
Heb 9:11-15

The blood of Christ will cleanse our consciences.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came as high priest
   of the good things that have come to be,
   passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
   not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
   he entered once for all into the sanctuary,
   not with the blood of goats and calves
   but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls
   and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes
   can sanctify those who are defiled
   so that their flesh is cleansed,
   how much more will the blood of Christ,
   who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
   cleanse our consciences from dead works
   to worship the living God.
For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant:
   since a death has taken place for deliverance
   from transgressions under the first covenant,
   those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

Acclamation before the Gospel
Jn 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

This is my body. This is my blood.

croce_vangelo.pngA reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
   when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
   his disciples said to him,
   “Where do you want us to go
   and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
   “Go into the city and a man will meet you,
   carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
   ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
   where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
   and found it just as he had told them;
   and they prepared the Passover.

While they were eating,
   he took bread, said the blessing,
   broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
   “Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
   and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
   “This is my blood of the covenant,
   which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
   I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
   until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
   they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s