The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord: Taken, Blessed, Broken & Given

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord.  In today’s Gospel we come upon one of the many accounts of Jesus’ multiplying food for the people.  These miracles prefigure the Lord’s offering His Body and Blood.  The Lord performs four actions which are repeated at every Mass:  He takes.  He blesses.  He breaks, and He gives.  Let’s relate these four steps to our daily lives.

First of all, the Lord takes. The Lord is offered is five loaves and two fish.  This appears insignificant next to the need.  So also, what we have to offer the Lord in our day to day life may seem insignificant.  But Jesus did not reject the five loaves and two fish nor does He spurn our efforts to do good for others.  He takes our good works and uses them more than we could ever imagine.  This includes whatever good we do for our spouse, children, elderly parents, the sick, the lonely, as well as the work we do for good organizations such as the Knights of Columbus or the Pro-life movement.

Secondly, the Lord blesses.  Melchizedek appears in the first reading. Abram had just won a great victory over his enemies. Melchizedek appears and offers God gifts of bread and wine.  He does so to bless and thank God for Abram’s victory.  We too thank God and bless Him at every Mass: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all Creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you, fruit of the earth and the work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.” “Blessed be God forever!”  and “Blessed are you, Lord God of all Creation, for through your goodness we have receive the wine we offer you, fruit of the vine and the work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.” “Blessed be God forever!”  We bless and thank God because we are able to receive His Presence and His Love into our lives.

Thirdly, the Lord breaks.  The five loaves and two fish were broken and passed around revealing the miraculous power of God in feeding the multitudes.  We too are miraculously fed when we receive a piece of His Sacred Body and/or a sip of His Precious Blood.  We too like the disciples on the road to Emmaus should be able to recognize our Lord in the breaking of the Bread.

Fourthly the Lord gives.  The Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered to the Father for us.  We pray in the chaplet of Divine Mercy: “Eternal Father, we offer you the Body and Blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ our Lord, for our sins and the sins of the whole world.” This is really a short summary of the sacrificial prayer of the Mass.  Our reception of the Eucharist is a celebration of our sharing in this Victory of the Lord.  Jesus Christ is the Victor over sin and death and He gives His Victory to us.

Taken, blessed, broken and given.  The gifts of bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of the Lord. Taken, blessed, broken and given, we too are given the ability to be transformed into a more Christ-like person with His living Presence within us.

Fr. Tom