Gospel Reflection June 6 – Deacon Frank
Sunday, June 6
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ 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.
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, 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.
This weekend it is appropriate that, after the fifteen-month dispensation from our obligation to attend weekly Mass because of the effects of the pandemic, we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi or the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Jesus had a body. This may seem obvious, but if you are anything like me, my mind immediately thinks of physically going to Mass each week and receiving the Eucharist when someone mentions the Body and Blood of Christ. Although what we have in the Eucharist, where bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, is an amazing mystery that we normally have access to every single day, it may be limiting to think only of a piece of “bread” and a chalice filled with “wine” when we think of Christ’s body and blood.
Jesus had a body. A physical one just like you and me. He had blood coursing through his veins, giving his body life, movement, and warmth. In his divinity, Jesus entered fully into our humanity. With his body and his blood, Jesus takes all our humanity and makes it divine. So, when Jesus says, “This is my body” and “This is my blood,” he is not talking about a perfect, muscular, six-pack, toned and sculpted body, but a very own fragile body, callused and hardened by years of labor and hard work; one that experienced illness and fatigue; one that will be beaten, scourged, and pierced. That is what we receive when we say “Amen”. We are not only taken into the divinity of Christ but also taken into the lowest depths of humanity.
Through the Eucharist we enter into communion with the entire Catholic family all around the world, past, present, and future. We can enter into the joys of people who get married, or the sorrow of those who just lost a loved one. We can enter into and empathize with those who, like Jesus, are poor, vulnerable, or marginalized. We are called to be the Body of Christ in action. As we receive and become the Body and Blood of Christ, may we enter into the depths of humanity and discover the divine.
Have a blessed week and welcome back!
-Deacon Frank Iannarino