DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME
(Sunday, June 23, 2019 The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ)
The celebration of today is one of the great Feasts in the life of the Church. The Feast of the Most Holy Eucharist- The Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ was officially instituted on the night He was betrayed, that night that preceded His Great Passion, Crucifixion and Death. After the Holy institution of His Most Body and Blood, Christ left us a powerful instruction and mandate "Do this in Memory of Me"
The importance of the Most Holy Eucharist and the centrality of receiving the Most Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is not something that we will completely enumerate in this reflection because they are quite enormous. It is indeed quite unfortunate that many of us have lost sight of the purpose of the Holy Eucharist and some after attending Mass and after having received the Body and Blood of Christ, still go in search of where to get spiritual anointing. What other anointing are we still looking for greater than that of the Body and Blood of Christ? Indeed, many of us have lost it, especially when it comes to the understanding of this great Banquet and meal Christ left for us.
No wonder then, the Church set aside every year to celebrate in a special way the Solemnity of the Most Body and Blood of Christ as a way of reminding us of the relevance of this great Sacrament in our Christian lives. Many seem to feel no connection whatsoever with the person of Christ whose Body and Blood we receive. We tend to regard the Holy Eucharist as a ritual rather than a sacrament to honour and remember Christ. I wonder whether it is because we do not talk to Him, listen to Him, believe in Him or relate to Him like the disciples or the first Christians did. Today we are reminded that each time we participate in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, we have a message to take home. The message is not only from the scriptures or the preaching of the day but also from the Holy Eucharist itself.
The act of the Holy Eucharist itself is a message. In his letter to the Corinthians (11:23-26), a part of which we have heard today, Saint Paul reminds us of the message. The message is that as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we remember Jesus Christ and we proclaim His death. If we are asked what we can remember of our earthly, I know that many of us perhaps would remember his many good qualities such as his kindness or generosity or compassion or patience. So also what can we remember of Jesus Christ? Saint Paul says, "The Lord Jesus, on the night He was handed over, took bread, and after He had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you." In the same way, He also took the cup, after supper saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes".
First and foremost, in our worship, we remember the Lord Jesus. We are not remembering someone ordinary but the Lord Jesus. When we remember the Lord Jesus, we are reminded of the breaking of the bread. The breaking of the bread refers to the Lord Jesus' broken body, that is, His emotional pain, mental anguish, physical wounds and death on the cross. The gospels describe the suffering of Jesus - He was betrayed, beaten, scourged, spit upon, mocked, stripped naked, nailed to the cross and crucified. But He endured all this suffering because of His love for us. His ultimate sacrifice on the cross is the atonement or the penalty for the sins of the world. He gives Himself in our place so that we might go free without any punishment for our sins.
So, each time we receive His body and blood, we are to remember that the Lord Jesus suffered and died so that we might enjoy everlasting life or salvation. As we reflect on this Great Feast today, let us always avail ourselves the opportunity of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in season and out of season and always have faith in what we receive and celebrate as St. Paul says “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim His Death until He comes”
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me grace to always prepare well to receive your body and blood and may I share your love with others. Amen.