Thursday, June 4, 2015
by Sister Laura Zelten
Today's readings have two threads running through them: blood and covenant. The first reading is a dramatic scene from Mount Sinai. In the aftermath of the exodus, God summoned the people into a covenant relationship: He would be their God, and they His people. Being in God's special protection, Israel was called through the commandments to proclaim God's holiness to the nations (Lev 19:2). This covenant relationship was sealed with the blood from sacrificial animals -- "the blood of the covenant" -- symbolic of the force and energy of life. Half of the blood was sprinkled on the altar representing God's presence, and half on the people. God and Israel were united and committed to one another.
In Mark's version of the Last Supper Jesus breaks bread and pours out wine -- actions of his self-giving love on the cross -- and offers them to his friends as his Body and Blood. Jesus calls it "my blood of the covenant," echoing the words of Moses. Through Christ's loving self-gift, God invites all of us into a special relationship with Him, into "a new covenant." We are to bear witness to God's holiness and love. As the end of today's responsorial psalm suggests, we are to be a Eucharistic people in the presence of all.
Today is a wondrous feast. Let us celebrate it with joy and thanksgiving (the meaning of the word "Eucharist"). And let us share with others the amazing gift we receive every time we gather to hear God's Word and come to the Lord's Table.
Rooted in the Cross, Word, and Eucharist ... compassionately responding through prayer, presence, and hospitality.
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