Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ by Rev. Fr. Eze Osita Alex
The solemnity of today is about our devotion to the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist and this celebration affords us the opportunity to honour the mystery of the Holy Eucharist which is always present with us in the gift of his self in a bodily form. However,
the Holy Eucharist is the most important aspect of the Church’s life that is why it is the source and summit of our Christian faith.
In our first reading, Melchizedek the priest of Salem offers bread and wine to Abram and his soldiers. This gesture does not only show appreciation to Abram and his men but deeply tells us that Christ remains the source of our strength in our Spiritual battles and challenges. Jesus the high priest, represented by Melchizedek, also offers himself to us today so that we may eat of him and be strengthened. Therefore, when we eat the Body and Blood of Christ it does not only refresh and transform us but it grants us the enabling strength to move on with life and fight the snares of the devil.
Melchizedek does this offering as the priest of the Most High. So also the duty of a validly ordained minister set aside by God, as in the case of Melchizedek, is to consecrate the Body and Blood of Jesus as an offering to God and for the well-being of God’s people. This is why whenever a priest of God celebrates Mass, many people are blessed as he did to Abram. We are blessed when we participate faithfully and reverently in the Holy Eucharist. As God was gracious to Abram, he will also be gracious to us whenever we appreciate him. We shouldn’t take the kindness of God to us for granted as we share in the Eucharistic sacrifices of the mass but instead, we should continually offer our token of appreciation by living good lives and supporting the Church within our reach as Abram did.
St. Paul in the second reading gives us reasons to celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ. Interesting is his coming out clear to make us understand that, what he believes in was not just a matter of being imposed upon him by the apostles as some will think but was equally a knowledge given to him as revelation. Thus, making Christ the only institutor of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. To deny this fact is to err drastically.
When St Paul says that we proclaim His death whenever we eat His Body and drink His Blood, he was reminding the Christians that the Eucharist is not just a social gathering, a fellowship among Christians but that we who celebrate the Eucharist and consume the bread and wine are called to proclaim His death and resurrection in our lives. Whoever takes part in the Eucharist, therefore, unites himself to the mystery of our Lord’s death and becomes His messenger of love and missionary of the good news of salvation.
- In today’s celebration, Christ invites us around the Eucharistic Table for threefold purposes
(a) to instruct us about the Kingdom of God and its meaning or implication for us today as we listen to the Word of God and reflect over it;
(b) to heal us from our sins which are our spiritual sicknesses; and
(c) to feed us with his Body and Blood so that with the strength of this spiritual nourishment we may go out to feed those who are physically and spiritually hungry.
2. Abram recognized that his victory over the four kings was due to God’s divine assistance. Melchizedek praised and blessed God for Abram in thanksgiving for their deliverance by an offering of bread and wine. Through Melchizedek, Abram received His blessings and gave him a tithe of everything, which was a tenth of all his possessions. This is the basis for the biblical concept of tithing. Tithing is recommended so that we will always remember that God is the source of all that we have; we return a portion of what we have back to Him.
3. We cannot be true disciples of Jesus unless we are grateful for the blessings we have received, especially the gift of Jesus Himself in His passion, death and resurrection, renewed each time when we celebrate the Eucharist. That is why the Church chooses the first reading from Genesis which recounts the story of Melchizedek and Abram after winning the battle against the four kings, Abram was met by Melchizedek king of Salem.
4. In the Gospel text, the disciples are given the task of organizing the crowd and distributing the bread. We are also called to bring about a ‘miracle’ of unity in our divided world or community.
As we gather around the Eucharistic table, may the Body and Blood of Christ continue to fill our hunger for him and quench our thirst for living in sin through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Happy Sunday to you all.