Thoughts on the Readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (A) 2017

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061817.cfm 

Many years ago when I was growing up, my mother decided she would bake bread and rolls for our family rather then purchase them at the store.   This practice stopped when my youngest brother was born.  I think with 7 children, one of them being a new born, something had to give.  For a few years, though, it was great to wake up to the smell of fresh bread a couple times a week.  Even as a child, I knew that making bread was a way for my mother to express her love for us.    Given this, it wasn’t difficult at all for me to understand that the Eucharist --- the Bread of Life --- was an expression of Christ’s love for us.   

I mention the above because this Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.    This feast celebrates our belief, as Catholics, that in the Eucharist Jesus Christ is really and truly present.    We offer no proof for this belief.  There is no rational explanation for it.  There is no way to logically reason to it.  For us it is a matter of faith.   And, as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”  (Heb. 11.1) 

In our Gospel this weekend, Jesus tells the people:  “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.”   In these words we believe Jesus has promised to be with his people in the Eucharist that we celebrate and share in his name.   Further, we believe that in the Eucharist not only do we share in Christ’s life in this world, but also we are given the promise of eternal life.

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the book of Deuteronomy.  In it Moses reminded the people not to forget the Lord their God who “fed you in the desert with manna, a food unknown to your fathers.”  We see manna as prefiguring the Eucharist.

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.  In it Paul reminded the people of Corinth that “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. How was the Eucharist explained to you as a child?   How do you understand it now?   
  2. How would you explain the Eucharist to someone who does not come from a Christian background? 
  3. What is your strongest memory of receiving the Eucharist? 
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