The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - 18th June, 2017

Liturgical Reflection

 

 

During this year several nations are holding elections, so the cyber space is thick with promises to transform the world. As we know, many of these promises will be honoured more in the breach than the observance. In contrast, today’s Gospel reading is rich with promises that have been kept, and do transform our lives. This text recalls the sublime revelation of John’s prologue: the Word was God; the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. It also brings to mind Jesus’ farewell words to his disciples after He had celebrated with and for them the first Eucharistic meal: I go now to prepare a place for you so that where I am you also may be… I will not leave you orphans, I will come back to you. Matthew collects all these promises in one, as Jesus tells His time-bound sisters and brothers: Know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.

Guaranteed already by the life story of Jesus of Nazareth these promises are now fulfilled in the life of His Church, most clearly in the sacrament of the Eucharist. There we meet the crucified but risen Christ, conqueror of death, inviting us to enter with him into the divine life of Father, Son and Spirit… There we find our simple gifts of bread and wine become the whole Christ, human and divine, offering us Himself as the bread of life, a foretaste of the unimaginable abundance and joy of the banquet prepared for us in the kingdom of God.

At every Eucharist we are invited to communion not only with Christ Himself but with all members of His Body, excluding none, loving all even unto death, as He did and does. The mystery is this indeed: Christ is among us and within us in this ‘sacrum convivium’. St Augustine reminds us that when we are presented with the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation our ‘Amen’ is a declaration of our faith that we are experiencing the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to be with us always, to the end of time and beyond.

Mary Britt OP