Sunday, Jun. 14th 2020

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

 

Today's Mass Readings

 

Today’s liturgy begins with a quotation from Psalm 81: He fed them with the finest wheat and satisfied them with honey from the rock.

This entrance antiphon is a clear reference to today’s first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, which recalls the 40-year journey of God’s people through the desert and how he supplied their need for food with the bestowal of manna and their thirst for drink with the water that came forth from the rock in the wilderness. The responsorial psalm further elaborates on this theme with a song of praise from Psalm 147, which glorifies the Lord who fills his children with the best of wheat.

But the author of Deuteronomy and our other readings today push us beyond the mere satisfaction of physical hunger and thirst. Not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord (Dt 8:3). And what is that new bread, this Word? Our second reading from First Corinthians leads us to see that the word which comes forth from the mouth of the Lord is Christ. The cup of blessing is not just physical food but a participation in the Body and Blood of Christ. Earlier in that same chapter, St. Paul observed: …our ancestors…all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ (1 Cor 10:3-4).

Christ is presented to us in the Gospel as the new Moses who brings forth new manna: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” Jn 6:51. But this New Manna which is given to us to strengthen us on our journey to the Promised Land of heaven is much more than mere food: “Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:58). “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (Jn 6:54). The manna of the desert was only a foreshadowing of the new bread, which bears the promise of eternal life to be given by the Messiah, the new Moses.

The communion antiphon, drawn from the Gospel of John is a fitting summary of today’s readings: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, says the Lord (John 6:57). Participation in the Eucharist is a participation in the very life of Jesus who has life because of the Father. The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? (1 Cor 10:16). As we receive communion today, let us remain in him, that he may remain in us and make us, though many, one body.

Thought for today: How am I changed by reception of the Eucharist? How are my relationships with others around me made different by my participation in Christ’s Body and Blood?

Reflection by Br. Michael Marcotte, OSB

Foreword for this week’s daily reflections: During Ordinary Time, the entrance and communion antiphons of the Sunday liturgy are repeated throughout the week. In this way, the themes developed at the Sunday mass are enriched and expanded as they interact with the different readings found on each day of the following week in much the same way that a kaleidoscope presents a constantly changing view of colors, forms, and designs.

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