CORPUS CHRISTI – B
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
Almost every religion has rituals through which the people aspire to connect with a deity. These rituals are set of man-made prayers/incantations and actions/dances which express the longing of humanity to reach out to the divine. What makes Christianity unique is in its liturgy which is expressed in the celebration of the Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ.
On the night before Jesus died, he celebrated the First Mass through the Last Supper which would be an anticipation of the great sacrifice he would be offering on the cross. During the Last Supper, he offered himself in the form of bread and wine which will would be his body and blood on the cross. Therefore he was the High Priest and at the same time the Victim being offered in one continuous event of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. This is the mystery of the Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) in the Holy Eucharist.
1. It is a SACRIFICE! While the sacrifices of all other religions are made by man, our sacrifice is one, ultimate and unrepeated offered by God-man Jesus. It sanctifies the cosmos, humanity and each individual person as it transforms all worldly realities unto the realm of the divine. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we do NOT repeat the sacrifice of Jesus but rather we re-live it and make it present so that we can still participate in that salvific event even if it happened two thousand years ago. The sanctuary is transformed into Calvary; the cross stands now as the altar of redemption; the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood and the High Priest is now the ordinary man celebrating the mass. In the unfolding of this great sacrifice of which we part, the Word becomes flesh once again: "This is my Body…."
2. It is FOOD! Jesus fully understands the nature of man and its basic needs so he bequeathed himself to humanity in the form of food. As compared to ordinary foods, his Body and Blood is for spiritual nourishment. It is the fruit of man’s offering (bread and wine) to God that is given back, transformed (Body and Blood of Christ) and transforming those who are participating on it (the Mystical Body of Christ). In our communion of this heavenly food, we become one with Christ and with one another as companions (cum = with; panis = bread) on the journey!
3. It is a SACRAMENT! Instituted at the Last Supper and fulfilled on the cross, the Body and Blood of Jesus continue to confer grace to humanity. It is the sacrament of the God’s love beyond understanding expressed in divine self-emptying (kenosis) so that man may have fullness of life (pleroma).
The Body and Blood of Christ is God’s overflowing and excessive charity which is beyond measure. This is the boundless God whom we encounter (liturgy) and partake (communion) as he continues to transform us unto the image of Jesus Christ!