June 6: Body and Blood of Christ. Readings: 1. Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm: 116B; 2. Hebrews 9:11-15; Gospel: Mark 14:12-16,22-26.
This festal day is yet another occasion for us to celebrate a key aspect of the Catholic faith that is scripturally-based. This is the day to recall our ecclesial bond as brothers and sisters who are regularly nurtured by the Eucharist.
The sacrificial ritual described in today’s reading from Exodus calls attention to Moses’ leadership of the people of Israel. His role is to remind them of their obligation to be bound by their covenant with the Lord. The spilling of the blood and the reading of the book of the covenant put a dramatic focus on the Word of God and the bond that officially unites everyone. This ancient practice serves to preserve a pious memory of Israel’s indebtedness to the saving hand of God.
In the second reading, Christ himself comes centre-stage. It is the author of Hebrews who here wants everyone to acknowledge and applaud Christ the high priest, who shed his blood for us on the cross, the superior act of self-sacrifice. The purity of his sacrifice is, therefore, cause for a solemn remembrance of this unique gesture offered for all our sakes.
The Passover meal that dominates in Mark looks to Israel’s past and then anticipates the stark events of the days ahead. The acts of the upper room are the foundation for the Church’s ongoing thanksgiving in honour of the Lord’s sacrificial gift of his body and blood. Every Eucharist therefore invites us to remember the cross with gratitude, and to give daily witness to the radiant mystery of Christ.
Inspired by these readings, we see ourselves called to faithful celebration of the Easter mysteries. Mindful of living out the eucharistic memorial, we take this day to rejoice in the Lord and to spread a deeper understanding of what we celebrate.
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