Christ Remains with Us

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

June 6, 2021 - Body and Blood of Christ - Mark 14:12-16

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Both my parents died a few years back. But occasionally, I dream of them, but once my dream ends, they are gone. I also retain a few mementos of them in the form of old letters and pictures. One of my valued treasures of my dad is a small trophy he won at a local golf tournament. I have a letter my mom wrote me in college. But for the most part they have departed from my life. Hopefully, they are now enjoying eternal life with God.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This feast was created by the Church to remind us that Jesus remains with us, especially in the sacrament of the Eucharist. As Catholic churches reopen after the pandemic, it is a good time to recall the meaning of this sacramental gift to us, a gift that goes back to the Last Supper when Jesus said his presence (not just his memory) would remain with us in “the breaking of the bread,” a reference to the Eucharist that was created in the earliest days of the life of the church.

What is most special about the Eucharist is that Christ remains with us not just in thought and prayer, but tangibly in the bread and wine that have been transformed into his full presence (body and blood) during the Mass. This was done because of how we humans perceive reality, which is through our physical senses.

St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the great theologians of the Church, said that our minds learn first through our five senses, sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Most all of these senses are operative during the Eucharistic celebration. And this has been going on for two-thousand years since Jesus ascended into heaven, a feast recently celebrated by the Church.

Through being present to Christ in the Eucharist, we are blessed with a very human way to retain closeness to him while we remain here on Earth. Of course, when we receive the Eucharist we connect with Jesus in a way similar to how his early followers did on the pathways of Galilee and Israel long ago. The same Christ, who took pity on the hungry, cured the sick and instructed all who came his way, now encounters us through our reception of the Eucharist.

For so many of us who have been deprived of this form of encounter with Jesus during the pandemic we can now gain a new appreciation of this gift now ours again.    

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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