Background on the Gospel Reading Mark 14:12-16,22-26 Jesus shares his Last Supper with his disciples.
Today, the second Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate a second solemnity, which marks our return to Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. At one time, this day was called Corpus Christi, the Latin words for “the Body of Christ.” In the most recent revision of our liturgical rites, the name for this day is expanded to be a more complete reflection of our Eucharistic theology.
In our reading for today, we read the account of the Last Supper found in the Gospel of Mark. It begins with the instructions that Jesus gave to his disciples to prepare their Passover celebration. It then goes on to give an account of the Last Supper. On this Sunday, however, our Lectionary reading omits the verses between these two passages; in those omitted verses we hear Jesus predict his betrayal by one of his disciples.
The Gospel of Mark describes Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples as a celebration of the Jewish feast of Passover. The Jewish celebration of Passover is a memorial to and a ritual participation in the defining moment of Israel’s history. It celebrates God’s deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt. The Passover meal includes many ritually important elements, such as unleavened bread, lamb, and bitter herbs. Each food item recalls an aspect of the Exodus event. The instructions for the preparation of this meal are carefully prescribed in the Law of Moses. It is a central obligation of the Jewish faith tradition to celebrate this meal and to give thanks to God for his deliverance and protection.
In the description of the Passover meal found in today’s Gospel, however, Mark omits many elements of the Jewish Passover meal. Instead he describes only those elements he believes to be most essential to the Christian Eucharist: Jesus took bread, blessed the bread, broke the bread, and shared it with his disciples. Similar words and actions follow as Jesus shares the chalice with his disciples. This bread now shared is Jesus’ own body. Those who drink from the chalice are invited to share in a new covenant which will be sealed by Jesus’ own blood. Mark’s Eucharistic theology looks forward to the Kingdom of God that Jesus inaugurates.
The Gospel for today reminds us that the Eucharist is a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We believe that Jesus is truly present to us in the elements of bread and wine. Each time we celebrate this sacrament, we prepare for the Kingdom of God. This celebration, as the Second Vatican Council taught us, is the source and summit of the Christian life.
In this week’s Encountering the Word video for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Jeff Cavins shows how the Sunday Readings in the Old and New Testaments recount the blood covenants God entered with Israel, through Moses, and then with humanity through Christ.
THE LIFEBLOOD OF GOD CYCLE B ORDINARY TIME WEEK CORPUS CHRISTI by Bishop Robert Barron June 6th 2021
Friends, for this feast of Corpus Christi, today’s readings run red, dripping in sacrificial symbolism. When we gather together for Mass, we are not calling to mind some disconnected historical incident. Rather, we spiritually and physically participate in the re-presentation of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Bishop Barron on Catholics Misunderstanding the Eucharist :
It’s hard to describe how angry I feel after reading the latest Pew Forum study, which reveals only one-third of Catholics agree with the Church that the Eucharist is actually the Body and Blood of Christ. This should be a wake-up call to all of us in the Church—priests, bishops, religious, laypeople, catechists, parents, everyone—that we need to pick up our game when it comes to communicating even the most basic doctrines of the Church. Watch this video for more.
Gospel: Mark 14:12-16,22-26 This is my body; this is my blood
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 the 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 psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives.
Lectio Reflection – Corpus Christi – Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
Mark 14:12-16 The Passover with the Disciples
12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Peter’s Denial Foretold
26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Faith Life Our faith is in Jesus who comes to us as the human face of God. Faith life is human life lived in a deeply personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Jesus is our friend and lover, the most significant point of reference in our life. We need to lead our life conscientiously and intentionally so that all that we do is done within the context of our love relationship with Jesus.
Faith leadership is a natural expression of our faith life. There can be no faith leadership without faith life. Whatever the form this leadership takes, it is essentially an act of faith, bringing to the leadership situation Christ himself. Jesus is the model of faith leadership, just as He is the model of faith life.
We invite you to share with us your prayerful reflection on The Sunday Gospel readings with Bishop David Walker, Fr John Frauenfelder and Virginia Ryan These Lectio Reflections provide the framework to develop our faith life. Our faith is in Jesus who comes to us as the human face of God. Faith life is human life lived in a deeply personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. Jesus is our friend and lover, the most significant point of reference in our life. We need to lead our life conscientiously and intentionally so that all that we do is done within the context of our love relationship with Jesus. Lectio Divina is one of the ways we can develop this.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I renew my faith in your true presence in the Eucharist. I believe you come down from heaven to be present in the host at every Mass and remain with me in the Tabernacle. You are the source of my hope. I long to be more united to you through this gift of yourself.
Petition: Lord, increase my appreciation and devotion to you in the Eucharist.
1. The Power of Love: As Jesus prepared to accept the cross, he showed the depth of his true love for humanity by giving himself. He promised to be with us until the end of time, and it was no empty promise. Christ, true God and true man, transformed bread and wine into his Body and Blood and gave the apostles and their successors the power to make Christ present in the Eucharist. Jesus’ love wasn’t just a passing love. His love makes itself present every day in the Eucharist. Lord, help me to grasp and be grateful for the depth of love you showed to us by giving us your Body and Blood as food.
2. It All Started with Yes: Sometimes it is easy to take words for granted. How many times do we hear the words “yes” and “no,” but take no notice? Imagine if God had decided to not become man and let us die in our sins instead. Imagine too if Mary had said “No”. The Eucharist begins with God’s “YES” to save mankind from his sin. Through his sacrifice, Jesus offers us the supreme gift of love: his own body and blood. But like any story of love, Jesus offers us his love and asks for our love in return. Our “yes” is what it takes to bring to completion God’s love in us. Yes, Lord, I truly believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist!
3. The Heavenly Banquet Awaits Us: Christ says that he will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the day he drinks it anew in the Kingdom of Heaven. What a privilege it will be to participate in this banquet of heaven. The Eucharist and Mass are a foretaste of that noble banquet. Let us resolve to inebriate ourselves with Christ’s love given us through the Eucharist. “If only you knew the gift being offered to you” (Cf. John 4:10).
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, you gave us the Eucharist as the memorial of your suffering and death. May our worship of this sacrament of your body and blood help us to experience the salvation you won for us and the peace of the Kingdom where you live forever and ever.
Resolution: Today I will receive Christ in the Eucharist and make a profound act of faith in his presence. If possible, I will also participate in a Corpus Christi procession.