Body and Blood of Christ – the cost of the ultimate love

by Paul Yeung

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14B-16A

Moses said to the people:

"Remember how for forty years now the LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction and find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments. He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your fathers, in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD.

"Do not forget the LORD, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery; who guided you through the vast and terrible desert with its saraph serpents and scorpions, its parched and waterless ground; who brought forth water for you from the flinty rock and fed you in the desert with manna, a food unknown to your fathers."

1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Brothers and sisters:

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."

Jesus offers His life to redeem us, and His immense love for us gives rise to His ardent desire to be in perfect communion with us. He desires to be with us not only spiritually, but physically; not only in heaven, but also on earth. His love has united us to form the Body of Christ---the Church. And the Church, His bride, and each member of this Body should then become Christ to one another, extending His love and sacrifice for the whole world. Do we crave for Christ just as He craves for us and desires to be intimately united with us? Do we understand His love and His desire, and live up to His expectation?

In receiving the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we share in the divine life of Jesus Christ, which is a grace that we will never be able to comprehend fully.

To properly receive the body and blood of Christ is to trust in Him completely, to offer our whole self to Him, including our brokenness, and to give ourselves for others, just as Christ has offered and given Himself completely to us. When we are in union with Christ, we are to empty ourselves to allow Him to consume us and work through us so that we can be His instrument on earth to bring love, joy and peace especially to those who are most in need.

The new life we have received in Baptism has to be nourished and sustained by receiving Jesus Christ regularly in the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist and the Reconciliation are the only two sacraments that we can receive regularly to sustain and nourish us as we continue our pilgrimage on earth in pursuit of holiness.

Have we reduced the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and thus the immense love of Christ to a mere practice? In sharing and partaking in the sacred banquet, do we have the proper dispositions to be transformed by the Holy Eucharist to become who we are called to be?