The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 3, 2018, Sunday

San-Ildefonso-de-Toledo-Church-Tabernacle-Tanay-Rizal
San Ildefonso De Toledo Parish Church Tabernacle, Tanay Rizal

Reading 1 EX 24:3-8

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,
they all answered with one voice,
“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites
to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it 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.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18

R. (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 HEB 9:11-15

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came as high priest
of the good things that have come to be,
passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary,
not with the blood of goats and calves
but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls
and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes
can sanctify those who are defiled
so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works
to worship the living God.

For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place for deliverance
from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

Alleluia JN 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven,
says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 14:12-16, 22-26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
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.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Reflections

Body

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

June 3, 2018 Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

“Take it; this is my body” (Mk 14:22)

We often take for granted that we are created as a bodily creature. Our body is integral to our humanity and created by God as something good; we receive our body as a gift. We freely receive our body from our parents, and our parents from their parents and this goes on till we discover God as the source of this gift. Because our body is a gift from God, we are called to honor our body as we honor the Giver of the gift Himself.

Since the earliest time, the Church has fought against various false teachings that undermine the integrity and sanctity of the body. Early Christians stoutly defended the goodness of the body against the Gnostic sects that condemned the body as evil, a prison to our soul, and a curse to our existence. The Order of Preachers where I belong was founded for the salvation of souls. Some of my friends complain why we only save the soul and disregard other aspects of our humanity. I remind them that the Order was originally established to counter the Albigensian sect, and one of its basic teachings is that the body is evil, that suicide is a great means to achieve final liberation. To preach and fight for the goodness and integrity of our body is essential to the Dominican preaching, as it is to the Church’s preaching.

Unfortunately, the gnostic teaching grows and takes modern forms. Sanctity of our body is ever compromised as our body is trivialized and even commoditized. Human trafficking is one of the greatest abuses of our body. Young women, mostly from a poor background, are lured into prostitution and turned to be sex objects. Young children are forced to work in inhuman conditions in many countries. Organ harvesting has become most luxurious business involving the countless amount of money. There is a price for every organ we have. In fact, there is a nasty story in the social media of a teenager who sells his kidney to buy the latest model of iPhone. For some people, another additional ‘bodies’ in the wombs are just liabilities and hindrance to self-progress and career development, and thus, it is better to abort these ‘bodies’ before they grow and become bigger problems.

In celebrating the solemnity of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, we are invited through our Gospel reading, to go back to Jesus’ Last Supper. There, Jesus freely offers His body as a gift to His disciples, “Take it, this My body.” He then asks these disciples to share His body they have received to the future generations of disciples. Jesus receives His body as a gift, and now, in His Supper, He passes this gift so that we may have a life. This is the foundation of the Eucharist, as well as the core of the Christian sexuality.

Husband and wife join together in marriage, and they are no longer “two but one body.” As both spouses face the altar of God, they recognize that their bodies are gifts from God, and by lovingly offering to their spouse, they honor God who created them. We oppose any pre-marital and extra-marital sex because unless our body is given freely and totally in lifetime marriage commitment, we are always exposed to objectify our body. A husband’s or wife’s body is not simply the “property” or object to satisfy sexual, psychological needs, but it is a gift from God that even leads us to a deeper appreciation of our own body. In marriage, husband and wife give their body as a gift to each other in love and honor, so that they may have life more abundantly and in fact, they may welcome a new body, a new life, a new gift, into their marriage.

Married life is one among several ways we may accept and offer our body as a gift. Even a celibate life dedicated to service of others is another way to offer our body as a gift. Like Jesus in the Last Supper, it is only by receiving our body as a gift and freely sharing it as a gift that we may have meaningful lives.

Br. Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

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