Banner
Spirituality
The food that sustains us Print
Sunday scripture column

Kevin Perrotta

The Solemnity of the Most  Holy Body and     Blood of Christ

Gn 14:18-20
Psalm 110:1-4
1 Cor 11:23-26
Lk 9:11-17


Among the items on the menu of the Passover meal are flat bread, made without leaven, and wine. In the course of the meal, the host prays blessings over them.

Jesus hosted a Passover meal on the night before his death and prayed the customary blessings, but then added something. As he distributed the bread, he told his disciples, "this is my body that is for you." Passing the cup, he said, this is "the new covenant in my blood."

During his year or so with his disciples, Jesus had made many statements that puzzled his disciples. His words about the Passover may have been the most mystifying of all. How could bread and wine be his body and blood? And what could that mean?

The disciples, being devout Jews, would have detected terrifying allusions.

A body separate from its blood is one from which the life has bled out. "My body for you" is language drawn from the practice of animal sacrifice. "Covenant" and "blood" joined in the same phrase echo Moses' declaration of God's covenant with the Israelites when he sprinkled them with the blood of slaughtered bulls.

At the Passover meal, Jesus was giving himself to his disciples as he would be the following day -- handed over to those who hated him and tortured to death.

His words over the bread and wine indicated both his imminent death and the reason for it: It would be the gift of his life to God to wipe away human sins and bring God and humanity into a new relationship -- a new "covenant."

And so, uncomprehending, awed, and perhaps frightened, the disciples received the Master who was about to die for them.

When he passed the cup, Jesus added something more. "Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." He did not mean that they should simply recall that he died. He meant that as they ate this meal in the future as a way of remembering him, they would encounter him.

The bread would continue to become his body, the wine his blood. Again and again, they would receive the one who gave his life to God on their behalf.

That is how we receive him: as the friend beyond all friends who suffered death for us -- who suffered to become the food that sustains us in our own sufferings.


Kevin Perrotta is the editor and an author of the Six Weeks with the Bible series (Loyola Press), teaches part-time at Siena Heights University, and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Mich

 
Pope's June Prayer Intention Print
Prayers
In 2019, the Pope will present one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than two.
Pope's June Prayer Intention

The Mode of Life of Priests
That priests, through the modesty and humility of their lives, commit themselves actively to a solidarity with those who are the most poor.

 
Daily Scripture Readings Print
Readings
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
Click here to view or subscribe to the daily
Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
 
Holy Days of Obligation Print

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2019.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Tuesday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 30
Ascension Thursday
Thursday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Friday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Monday, Dec. 9
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Wednesday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
 
Prayer to St. Raphael Print

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.

Amen.

 
More Articles...
Banner