Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
On the first day of Unleavened Bread when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?" So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, 'The Master says: Where is my dining room in which I can eat the passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there." The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as he had told them, and prepared the Passover. And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. "Take it, he said this is my body." Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, "This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the Kingdom."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, this time of prayer is for you. Even as I begin, I am reminded of that night when you made sure that everything was prepared for the Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist. I know you have the same interest in my encounter with you now since your earnest desire is to come to souls, and now in prayer to my soul in particular. In order to make me able to accept you, you conquered my sin with your own sacrifice on the cross. May I, through my sacrifice, make my soul a place where you can dwell always.
Petition: Lord, help me to understand that it is in being taken by others, laying my life down for them, that I can take you to myself and you can fill me only with you and with your interests.
1. All Is Ready. A man with a water jar, a homeowner busy about preparations, and an upper room already furnished with couches - coincidences? Unlikely. Jesus had carefully arranged everything for this Last Supper. The fullness of his love is shown in planning his expression of that love, and it tells us that instituting the Eucharist was no afterthought but a deliberate, planned action. The disciples found everything as he had told them. The Lord too has prepared everything in my life with the same interest and love. He wishes to invite me to the Banquet with him, and he omits no detail—he looks after everything with the same love and interest. The table is always laid out; he, Victim and Priest, always ready. If there is anything lacking on my part, he is ready with his forgiveness. He has sent his Holy Spirit into our hearts to teach us to pray and he has given us the gift of faith so as to truly know what is happening and who is my host at the Table of the Lord. Let us ask him to teach us to recognize his providential hand in our lives, let us ask him for an increase of love for him so as to correspond to his gifts with similar love. The Eucharist is not simply an abstract lesson or a mere remembrance; it is his true presence and also a call to action, to love as he loved. When have I looked after my neighbor’s needs with matching care and love? Am I was ready to lay down my life for my friends, for those souls you have entrusted to me personally? We have so much to learn still, let us ask him to walk us once more through his example so as to learn how to offer our own sacrifice for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls.
2. He took, broke and gave. This is the pattern of our Christian life. First, God takes us, chooses us among others, out of no merit of our own, transforming us in Baptism, setting us apart as his own. So he does with each one of his subsequent gifts, each Sacrament and our own particular vocation. Taken, chosen, then broken. Jesus was broken in his Passion and death on the Cross. He died. So each one of us is called to die to himself, die to the world. If we die with the Lord we shall live with the Lord. And Jesus gave to his apostles the Bread that was himself. And he also gave his apostles to the world. His gift to the world is his redemption and he chose to spread it to the whole world through his followers. He wants to continue to give himself to men in us and through us. He gives himself, his real presence, to us in the Eucharist. When we accept his gift we are called to be his presence in the world, and this presence will come to perfection when we lead others to him in the Eucharist. And he gave priests to the world so that through the Eucharist we could always find him really present there, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
3. "Take!" Once again we see Christ’s unlimited generosity. He is here for us. He had told his disciples that unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood they would not have life in themselves. Jesus wants us to have the fullness of life, and so he offers us his Body to take and eat, his Blood to take and drink. Do we need any greater proof of his love? And, will we be so ungrateful as to refuse his gift? Would there be any limit to the good we could do as his apostles if we only took his word and attitude as our own, if our word to him and to souls was, Take! To him we would say, "Take my life, all I have and possess, all my liberty, my understanding, my entire will. My life is to love you, serve you and do your work." To souls we would say, "All the gifts I received from God are for you. Take my time, my talents, my strengths, my gifts, all that I am. I live for you." Then we would be truly Christian, which means, truly Christ-like.
Conversation: Lord Jesus, I want to prefer you to anything and anyone else in this world. But I need you to draw me to yourself. I need you from the cross to look at me with love and strengthen me, fill me with your love. I do not want to walk away sad, holding onto your gifts, unwilling to share them and sacrifice them if necessary. Strengthen my weak will so that I will never more prefer any darkness to your marvelous light.
1. How do I show Christ my appreciation for the gift of himself that he gives me in the Eucharist?
2. Just how generous am I toward Christ and toward souls, is there anything that I tend to hold back that I should really be giving?