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This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Those of you who are of my vintage will remember that the Latin name for this Feast was: Corpus Christi. This Feast reminds us of our belief that the bread and wine that are consecrated at Mass really and truly become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We refer to this as the “Real Presence.” We offer no proof for this; we cannot logically reason to it; there is no rationale explanation for it. As Catholics, it is for us a matter of faith. We believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the Eucharist we celebrate and share in his name and memory. And, as the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us: “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for and conviction about things we do not see.”
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Exodus. In this reading Moses reminds the people of the words and ordinances of the Lord, and then has them re-commit themselves to their covenant with the Lord. As a sign of their commitment, Moses sprinkled the people with the blood of the sacrifice. This sprinkling reminded the Israelites of God’s fidelity to them despite their repeated infidelities to their covenant with God.
Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. It reminds us that Christ is the “mediator of a new covenant.” Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ no other sacrificial offerings are needed.
Finally, in our Gospel this weekend we read Mark’s account of the institution of the Eucharist. Mark’s account is sparse, but it reminds us that because of Jesus Christ we have a new covenant with God, a covenant that cannot and will not end.
Questions for Discussion/Reflection:
- How would you explain the “Real Presence” to someone who isn’t Catholic?
- We believe that the Eucharist strengthens us and nourishes us in this life, but also that it is the foretaste and the promise of eternal life. If we believe this why do studies show that people are attending Mass less frequency?
- All three readings this weekend remind us that God has made a covenant with us. How is a covenant different from a contract?