Sunday's solemnity celebrates the gift of Eucharist
by Sister Jane Riha
This Sunday we celebrate the beautiful Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. We celebrate the Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus. Perhaps this year, this feast will fill us with even greater joy and gratitude as we slowly emerge from the isolation of the pandemic. Participating with our parish community or faith community is a gift that can’t be replaced by watching the Mass on television.
The feast we celebrate has deep roots in our ancestral history in the Old Testament. The covenant of God with His people in the desert was sealed with the sprinkling of blood. The people felt God’s protective care as they were nourished with manna in their hunger. The Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament refers to the mediator of a new covenant who offers Himself for us.
Many of us have received the Eucharist and participated in Mass for decades, perhaps from childhood. This feast is a time to reflect on your First Communion and your growth in faith over these years. Something so marvelous and powerful in our lives can also be taken for granted.
The Eucharist unites us as the People of God in our local church and with the global community. More than ever, we are aware of the interconnectedness with people of various cultures and races all over the world. As others throughout our world celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Mass, we are united in the love of God. It calls us forth to be persons of love who radiate Christ’s presence wherever life brings us.
During the consecration of the Mass, we hear these words: “Take this all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body, which will be given up for you” and “Take this all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.” This is Jesus truly present to nourish us and transform our lives. May this prayerful and communal experience inspire us to be the face of Jesus to those we meet during this coming week.