Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection June 02, 2024


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R/. The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the name of the Lord.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever.

R/. Alleluia.

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to Jesus, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a chalice, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

1. This Sunday we celebrate the FESTIVITY of the Body and Blood of Christ. One may ask why to speak in this separatist language. Why can’t we speak more holistically and personally as “the person” of Christ?

2. Here the point is not language or technicality. We are not speaking of two separate items, body and blood. 

3. Rather, it is in specific reference to the sacramentality of the person of Christ. The reference is to the sacrament of the holy Eucharist. It is the Sacramental mode of the Eucharistic presence of the Lord.

4. It signifies the eternal nourishment by the Eucharistic Lord. It points to the marvellous transformation of bread as his own body and the wine as his own blood to feed us and nourish us.

5. Thus Body and blood of Christ are not merely physical or biological components. They are the essence of Christ and his sacramental presence and wholeness.

6. Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life; whoever eats of my flesh and drinks my blood, will not die, but will live forever” (Jn 6. 35-58). It will be simplistic and even foolish to mistake it literally and mock it as cannibalism, as some do.

7. Such a protest is not worth our reflection now. Here very clearly the whole concern of Jesus is “Life”, the kind of life that he offers to us, the quality of life that we must live.

8. Our God is God of life, a living and life-giving God. We are His children. We are destined for eternal life. We are meant to live our life fully (Jn 10. 10: “I came to give life and life in its full measures”) and joyfully (Jn 15. 11: “so that my joy be in you and that be complete”). 

9. Therefore, we are people of a culture of life. We need to live this life of God, the divine and the spiritual life, and not merely the earthly, the material and the worldly life. We are called to live more than the “natural” existence. It is a call to live the “supernatural” life, the life of grace.

10. So, any attempts and actions against such a culture of life are counter- productive and counter- witnessing. Sadly, in our times a culture of death is virulent in its diabolic forms of aggression, violence, hatred, retaliation and destruction. 

11. In our present times, a culture of death is viral. The beauty, value and the power of life are reduced and despised. Consequently many live without the inner vitality, without the dynamism and the direction of life.

12. Life in the case of a good number appears to be empty, weak and aimless. It is in such a context, the feast of the most holy body and blood of Christ, the feast of the Holy Eucharist, is a timely and perennial recall and recharge.

13. This devilish culture is a blatant contradiction to the very nature of life, our existence as human beings, our identity as God’s children and our destiny as heirs of eternal life.

14. Apart from these explicit forms of death, there are also other passive aggressive forms of death in the form of excessive fear and tension, depression and emptiness. These forms take away the beauty and charm, the worth and value of life. They make life a dry, barren, burdensome and joyless enterprise.

15. It is in this context, Jesus assures us of the abundance and beauty of life. He also shows us how to obtain it and live it so. “Live interiorly, with the inner power; Live vibrantly and rightly, by the guidance and strength of this inner power; Live high and above with a sense of orientation for the eternity”. 

16. This is what Jesus means in Jn 6. 56-58, disclosing the three fundamental signs and effects of the Holy Eucharist: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.  Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever”. 

17. Therefore, an intimate mutual interior dwelling, vigorous process of living and focused orientation to eternity – this is what the whole life is about. In other words, interiority (of divine presence), dynamism and vigor (of the way of life), and the focus and direction (towards eternity) are the hallmarks of a culture of life, the new life that Jesus offers us.

18. Seen in this wider perspective of life, we must constantly deepen and enhance our reverence and devotion to the holy Eucharist. We must desire to receive it regularly and frequently. We must avoid the  danger to reduce the Holy Eucharist only to a pious practice, a thing to be venerated and worshipped.

19. The holy Eucharist is much more than that. It is the person of Christ himself. It is the fount of life. It is the link of bonding. It is the source of communion. It is the interior power. It is the energy of living. It is the direction to an eternal destiny.

20. How sad it is that venerating and receiving the holy Eucharist, we do not experience the presence of Jesus, his abiding in us! Why do we not feel the bond of communion with him and with others in our believing community? 

21. Why do we live so shallow lives, without depth and interiority? Why do we often feel weak and under-nourished, in spite of this greatest nourishment? Why do we often let ourselves misguided and controlled by other forces of evil and the world? Why are we often without any higher goals, without a sense of purpose and destiny?

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