When you close your eyes and think about what the “body and blood of Christ” looks like, what comes to mind? Is it the bread that we consume at communion and the wine that is in the chalice? Yes, it is. Because we, as Catholics, believe that when the priest consecrates the bread and wine during the Eucharistic Prayer during Mass, they truly becomes the body and blood of Christ. Through communion Christ is present in us in a real and tangible way. We believed, and still believe with great strength, that Jesus is truly present under those forms of bread and wine. But there's another reality about the Blessed Sacrament that we perhaps have not given as much emphasis to as we should, because if we listen carefully to the scriptures, we discover that not only are those elements of bread and wine transformed into the body and blood of Christ, but also the community of disciples – we, who are the church – are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. We become the living Jesus, present in our world.
An extraordinary truth, isn't it, to think that all of us, the community of disciples of Jesus, are the living presence of Jesus, the son of God, in the world in which we live.
That is what St. Paul was emphasizing in his first letter to the church at Corinth. Paul describes the institution, the time when Jesus at the Last Supper, changed that bread and wine into his body and blood. But for Paul the emphasis isn't just on the presence of Jesus in that bread and wine, it’s the presences of Jesus in the community. That’s why when we listened to that passage today, Paul is reminding us,
"The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation
in the blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is that not participation with the body of Christ?" Then look how he refers to us. "The bread is one, and so we, though many, are one."
If you look at the members of the Church, we are made up of many diverse individuals who bring a vast array of gifts and talents to the Church. But collectively, we are “one body” whose Catholic beliefs and traditions bind us together. Therefore, we are all called to continue Jesus’ mission on earth to love and care for one another.
When Jesus had finished the Last Supper, He said to His disciples, "What I have done, I have done as an example for you and you must do the same." So, what Jesus is teaching us is that we must continue to build up the body of Jesus by reaching out in love to one another, doing service just as Jesus did.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we should realize that we find Jesus truly present in the bread and wine that becomes our communion. But through that communion, Jesus becomes truly present in each one of us. So, when you think about what the body and blood of Christ looks like, it also looks like you and me and everyone else who makes up His Church.
Blessings, Deacon Steve
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC