THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS
genesis 14:18-20; 1 corinthians 11:23-26; luke 9:11b-17
in 1967, robert sténuit—the belgian underwater archaeologist—discovered the wreck of the spanish galleass, the girona, off the coast of ireland. among the many objects and treasures he recovered was a wedding ring. the top of the ring had a hand holding a heart; the band had these words etched on it: «no tengo mas que dar te» (i have nothing more to give you).
the same image and words could be used to describe today’s solemnity of the body and blood of JESUS. the solemnity (and every eucharist) is JESUS symbolically saying to us: «i have nothing more to give you.»
there are three aspects to today’s celebration: self-gift, sacrifice and service.
self-gift: today’s readings talk about giving. in the first reading, abram gives melchizedek a tenth of everything he has; in the gospel, JESUS challenges the apostles to «give the people something to eat»; in the second reading, paul describes JESUS’ total self-gift of his body and blood at the last supper.
sacrifice: at the last supper and in the eucharist, JESUS symbolically and sacramentally gave himself to his apostles. on calvary, he broke his body and shed his blood for his people.
service: at the last supper, jesus did more than break bread and share the cup. he washed the feet of his disciples. in his gospel, st john does not describe the institution of the eucharist; he narrates JESUS’ washing of his disciples’ feet and his exhortation that they imitate this example of service. for john, the towel and basin are eucharistic symbols.
self-gift, sacrifice, service! this is what we celebrate; this is our challenge.
am i willing to give myself for others? what are the «five loaves and two fish» i am called to share with others?
how can i be body broken and blood shed for others?
in what way will i serve and love others?