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Scripture Study: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

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By Marc Massery (Jun 1, 2018)
To find the readings for this weekend, click here.

Sunday, June 3 — The Feast of Corpus Christi
1 Ex 24:3-8
• Ps 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
• 2 Heb 9:11-15
• Mk 14:12-16, 22-26


Drinking a latte in the coffee shop. Jogging on the treadmill. Singing in the shower. Running reports in the office cubicle. Eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes at mom's house for dinner.

In each moment of our lives, no matter how routine, God calls us to live fully for Him. Remembering to live for God each moment may seem difficult to do. But as long as His precious Blood pumps through our veins, He can sanctify everything we do, no matter how mundane and even if we're not fully aware of it.

In the first reading, Moses tells the Israelites about the "words and ordinances of the Lord" (Ex 24:3). Hearing the Lord's commands, the people affirm in one voice, twice, that they will do everything the Lord says.

After hearing their consent, Moses has them offer animal sacrifice to the Lord. He then sprinkles the sacrificial blood on the people saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words of his" (Ex 14:8).

Despite their efforts, every single one of these men eventually falls away — including Moses. Not one in this generation entered the promised land.

They loved the Lord. They knew His commands and emphatically assented to follow them. They allowed Moses to sprinkle them with the blood of bullocks as a sign of their commitment to the Lord.

But as fallen people, they could not completely subordinate their wills to God's.

In the end, it did not matter how much they wanted to follow the Lord. Determination alone could not bring them to holiness.

This principle has never changed.

According to the second reading, only the Blood of Christ can "cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God" (Heb 9:14). Christ sacrificed His own Blood to bring to completion what our wills alone cannot do — overcome our sinful nature, subordinate our wills to God's, and enter into eternal glory.

Grace brings nature to completion

In the Gospel reading, Christ speaks to His apostles, revealing the New Covenant — the means through which He wants to conform us into His image.

It says, "While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many" (Mk 14:22-24).

Christ's Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, present in the Holy Eucharist, contains everything we need to turn away from temptation and live grace-filled lives. Receiving His Blood does far more than merely signify our desire to follow Him — it enables us to participate in His divine life.

It says, "[H]e is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant" (Heb 9:15).

Only the New Covenant has the power to recreate our broken nature in His image. Only a healthy dose of God's grace through the power of the Sacraments can help bring us lasting peace and ultimately, eternal salvation.

Still, no amount of Sacramental grace can force us to follow Him. Yes, God has given us everything we need to live as the men and women He wants us to be. But we need to willingly lay down our lives for Him in order to receive the fullness of His grace.

Relationships require sacrifice

In the Old Covenant, the Israelites sacrificed a portion of their most important possession: their livestock. God, in fact, sacrificed His own beloved Son out of His great love for us.

Therefore, we must sacrifice something significant in return, too.

We must sacrifice our entire lives.

When we hear in the Eucharistic prayer, "This is my body given up for you," we ought to remember our own bodies, our own daily lives, and say in our hearts, "This is my body given up for You."

Sacrificing our whole lives may seem like too high of a price. But Christ has such incredible plans in mind for us. If we caught just a glimpse of His plans, we would not waste one moment casting ourselves upon Him in complete trust.

But we can only get to this place of surrender when we receive Christ's Body and Blood at Mass. As long as His Body and Blood remains part of our own, we can have hope for the future. We can persevere through temptation. We can remain patient in suffering, aware of His presence from morning until night. We can experience His joy and peace. And as we grow in grace, He will not only sanctify us but use us as a vessel to bless others.

So receive the Eucharist frequently. If you do, you carry His Body and Blood with you everywhere you go.

Give up your every bit of your life for Him and watch as the mystery of faith, the mystery of redemption, the mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ recreates you into the person He created you to be.

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