The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)|Year B
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to Jesus, ‘Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, “The Master says: where is my dining room in which I can eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.’ The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as he had told them, and prepared the Passover.
And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.
After the psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives.
The one sacrifice of Jesus rendered unnecessary the continual animal sacrifices carried out in the temple. His sacrifice “completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant” (Catholic Catechism 1330).
The Eucharist does not just happen on the altar while the assembled people watch. It involves all who are present because in this sacrifice we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood, forming a single body.
Every Eucharist encompasses more than just those who are present. “To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.” (Catholic Catechism 1370)
It is quite mind-boggling to think that what is happening in our parish church somewhere in New Zealand involves all the members of the Church around the world, plus those who are already in heaven. In New Zealand we have our own special dimension to the celebration of the Eucharist – each day (and especially on Sunday) the first Masses in the world for that day are celebrated in New Zealand, beginning a chain of Masses which will extend around the world as the people in each time zone wake up. As St Paul says in Rom12:5: “We who are many are one Body in Christ”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6xIdDYiA9A
We are so familiar with the Mass that we can lose sight of its many dimensions. It is never just a parish celebration, and revisiting the deeper aspects of the Eucharist can refresh our minds and hearts, and help us to overcome potential half-attention as the result of familiarity. The Catholic Catechism has a section on the Eucharist which can help in this process. (It may be useful to reflect on it one “bite” at a time.) http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm