Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

2nd Sunday After Pentecost, Year C

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Reflections on the Readings by Dennis Hankins

Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:1-4

I Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 11:9-17

Theme: Jesus is the Bread of Life

Do this in remembrance of me.

There is an intimacy conveyed in St. Paul's teaching on the Body and Blood of Jesus. Note again the words 'I received from the Lord what I also handed over to you.' Is there any other religious leader who has left more of himself for the edification and strengthening of his followers than Jesus the Christ? Many of the founders of other religions have said and done great things. But in the institution of the Holy Eucharist we commune with our Founder and Lord as friends. And in so doing it is a remembrance not of one who used to be but of Him who will never leave us nor forsake us.

The receiving of His Body and Blood brings into our mortal bodies the power of an endless life. As often as we do this we embrace for our salvation and for the life of the world the Lords' death. How often and for how long should we receive this Holy Supper? Every Lord's day and daily if possible until He comes again! The message that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilot will never lose its power. What we do in the remembrance of that event makes that event present with all its power and salvation as though it were happening right now. Not that we crucify the Son of God anew. But renewed again are we in Him who is an ever present help. Our remembrance and proclamation is Christ has died! Christ has risen! Christ will come again!

I remember many years ago when the truth of eating our Lord's flesh and drinking His blood was revealed to my wife and me. (John 6:36-58) This was long before I became a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church and our reception into the Catholic Church. We had adapted a liturgical order of service in our little church where I was pastor. During one Sunday evening of praise and worship the song of the Lord rose up in us as we began to sing:

Eat My Flesh He Said.

Drink My Blood.

That there might be life in you;

My life I give to you.

Over and over we sang this then and afterwards as a profound change in my understanding of Holy Communion began to take place. We were receiving from the Lord what Peter and Paul and all of the Apostles and the early church had received and celebrated. A new closeness to our Lord was happening.

The readings today invite us to a new awareness and closeness of our Lord's presence in his Body and Blood. Our Lord comes to us under the appearance of Bread and Wine. In these consecrated gifts we receive the life and love of our Lord. By these the Holy Spirit reminds the world and us that Jesus is the Bread of Life.

Prayer: Precious Jesus, may I ever commune with you as friend with friend. Ever be my first love, my first thought. In what becomes your body and blood, may my reception of the same make me more like you in my relationship with my wife, my children, my church, my friends, my neighbor and the stranger. Amen.

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