Introduction

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ this week. “The human body

shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God’: it is a human body precisely because it is

animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become,

in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 364).

How do we allow the Body and Blood of Christ to nourish our lives, our works, our

aspirations and the people of our networks?

Theme

“So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man

and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53)

 

The Body and Blood of Christ to sustain life in the human person

Food is so important that it can make or unmake our life (as in the case of Adam and Eve

in Genesis 2:16-17; for Moses in Exodus 16:4; for Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and the feeding of

5000 in Matthew 14:15-21). Given the things and situations that plague human life, Jesus

offers us his Body and Blood to sustain our lives. There are all sorts of bread out there in

the world but they might not be the “living bread”. There are all kinds of food to eat but

they might not help us to “live forever”. There are all types of food, but they might not

help us to have life in us. Jesus Christ gives the living bread for life with him forever:

“Jesus said to the crowds:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

Whoever eats of this bread will live forever;

and the bread that I will give for the life of the world

is my flesh.”

The people then disputed among themselves, saying,

“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

So Jesus said to them,

“Very truly, I tell you,

unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

you have no life in you.” (John 6:51-53)

Where can we find the true food and the true drink? All the food we have in the world

might satiate our stomach for a while but they will not “raise us up on the last day.” We

need the spiritual food and the spiritual drink to abide in the source and author of life who

can raise us up on the last day:

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life,

and I will raise them up on the last day;

for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.

 

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me,

and I in them.

“Just as the living Father sent me,

and I live because of the Father,

so whoever eats me will live because of me.

This is the bread that came down from heaven,

not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died.

But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Jesus said these things

while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. (John: 54-59)

Because of whom are we living? By whom are we sent forth to accomplish concrete

goals in the world? The Body and the Blood of Christ keeps us alive in Jesus Christ in

order that we might be sent to accomplish his works.

 

God feeds us in order to make us understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by

every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord

In life, we go through moments of testing such as hunger, test, wilderness, and alienation.

But God sustains us with the spiritual food so that we might be good and so that we might

understand all that he does for our wellbeing:

“Moses spoke to the people:

“Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you

these forty years in the wilderness,

in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart,

whether or not you would keep his commandments.

He humbled you by letting you hunger,

then by feeding you with manna,

with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted,

in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

“Do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God,

who brought you out of the land of Egypt,

out of the house of slavery,

who led you through the great and terrible wilderness,

an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions.

He made water flow for you from flint rock,

and fed you in the wilderness with manna

that your ancestors did not know,

to humble you and to test you,

and in the end to do you good.” (Deuteronomy 8.2-3, 14-16)

The celebration of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ reassures us that the

Lord still leads us “through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with

poisonous snakes and scorpions.” How do we allow the Body and the Blood of Christ to

 

humble us within the works of God? The celebration of the Solemnity of the Body and

Blood of Christ helps us to remember that God is always there to sustain us. As a

psalmist recounts:

“Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!

Praise your God, O Zion!

For he strengthens the bars of your gates;

he blesses your children within you.

He grants peace within your borders;

he fills you with the finest of wheat.

He sends out his command to the earth;

his word runs swiftly

He declares his word to Jacob,

his statutes and ordinances to Israel.

He has not dealt thus with any other nation;

they do not know his ordinances.” (Psalm 147.12-13, 14-15, 19-20 )

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ so that “he strengthens the

bars of our gates; he blesses the children within us.”

The Body and Blood of Christ as a blessing

We need to receive blessings from the Lord so that we can in turn be blessing to the

world. The Body and Blood of Christ enable us to be part of the blessing of Christ for the

world:

“The cup of blessing that we bless,

is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

The bread that we break,

is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

Because there is one bread,

we who are many are one body,

for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10.16-17)

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ so that “we all partake of the

one bread” and the blessing of Christ. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood

of Christ so that the whole world might “partake of the one bread” and the blessing of

Christ.

 

Conclusion

In life, we go through moments of testing such as hunger, test, wilderness, isolation, and

alienation. But God sustains us with his spiritual food so that we might be good. We

celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ so that “he strengthens the bars

of our gates; he blesses the children within” our world and our care. We celebrate the

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ so that the whole world might “partake of the

one bread” and the blessing of Christ.

 

Sequence

1. Praise, O Zion, Christ our glory; To the Shepherd let us sing,

Tell to all the world the story; Laud with all our might the King.

Bread of life and source of living! Lacking, still our praises ring.

2. This our special theme for singing, Christ the Lamb for us was slain.

At the paschal meal he taught us, To the twelve he made it plain:

Flesh as food for us was giving, Therefore let your faith not wane.

3. On this day of Christian feasting, With full voices we delight:

Instituting our salvation, In the sacred meal that night,

Christ the ancient law fulfilling, Fills all people with new sight.

4. To obey the call Jesus, Gathered we as chosen band.

Bread and wine Christ is transforming, Flesh and Blood are now at hand.

From his words and actions learning, Love we share at his command.

5. Gathered at this solemn table, Darkness now has taken flight.

In the bread and wine partaking, Christ is for each one the light,

Then as food to us disciples, Gives our souls a new delight.

6. To all people Christ is giving, Truth in word and sacrament.

By the sacrifice redeeming, All into one covenant.

One in Jesus’ name assembling: Faith and love our testament.

7. To our minds these signs disclosing, To our senses must unfold:

Bread is broken, Blood outpouring; Christ the myst’ry, awe untold!

Flesh and Blood to sight revealing: This the story to be told.

8. Undivided is his body, Yet Christ gives himself to all.

Word made flesh with us abiding, For without him we must fall.

Christ the Pasch we are consuming, One in spirit is our call.

9. Good and evil are all sharing, Seeds of destiny are sown.

To new life our Saviour guides us; Death prevails when on our own.

Life immortal, for those seeking, Is fulfilled in Christ alone.

10. When the sacred bread is broken, All receive the Christ as one.

By his love Christ is transforming, Though so many we are one;

All the scattered are united, All the lonely welcomed home.

*11. Come, behold, the bread of angels, This our strength on pilgrims’ way.

For the children God is giving, Manna for our bread each day.

Now the sign of Isaac telling: Christ has conquered on this day.

12. Hear our prayers, O kindly Shepherd, Be for us true living bread.

Grant us peace in all our doings, To our resting place be led,

Forth with all the saints now dwelling, We the body, you the Head.