|Passover/Eucharist: Lucy Janjigian|
Homily for Corpus Christi Sunday
(Scriptures for today's Mass)
Audio for Homily
In a particular way today, a reading and some grasp of today's scriptures will be important and helpful. In different ways, spanning the centuries between God's covenant with Israel and the new covenant in Christ, these scriptures connect the themes of covenant, atonement, deliverance, remembrance, sacrifice, altar, meal, bread and wine. A look at the scriptures for today's Mass (see the link above) will serve you well.
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
That’s a liturgical, theological mouthful.
Just to name the day and what we celebrate here
might put off-putting for some: too pious, too churchy.
And, of course, those words ARE pious and they are churchy
but if we cannot at least begin to understand them at their core,
then they’re lost on us.
So, let’s bear with one another and make as simple an effort as possible
to understand the complexity, the depth and the mystery
of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
• Beginning centuries before Jesus was born, his people, the Jews,
celebrated Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement,
to atone for the sins they had committed in the previous year.
On Yom Kippur, the blood of a sacrificed animal
was sprinkled on the altar and on the people,
a sign that God was one with the people he had made his own
and he was reconciled with them.
The Jews still celebrate Yom Kippur,
but without the spilling and the splashing of blood.
Instead, they recount the story of the earlier sacrifice,
to remember it,
and they recite the prayers that accompanied that sacrifice.
• Centuries before Jesus was born, his people, the Jews,
at God’s command,
on the eve of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt,
celebrated the first Passover supper, a ritual meal,
which God charged them to celebrate then every year
to remember how the Lord had passed over the homes of the Jews
which had been sprinkled with the blood of a sacrificed lamb,
thus sparing those Jewish homes from the angel of death.
•Some 2,000 years ago - at Passover in Jerusalem,
Jesus gathered his friends for that same supper
on the night before he died.
That night, Jesus took the bread of Passover, gave thanks, broke it
and gave it to his friends saying,
Take and eat of this:
This bread is my body, broken for you, given up for you.
And taking the Passover cup filled with wine he gave thanks again
and gave it to his friends saying,
Take this, all of you, and drink from it.
This is the cup of my blood,
the blood of the new covenant, poured out for you,
for the forgiveness of sins.
When you do this: remember me.
And before a day had passed, Jesus,
the Lamb of God,
was crucified, broken, and his life poured out for us
on the Cross.
• And now, and still, more than 20 centuries later,
we gather on every Sabbath to celebrate the Passover of the Lord.
We gather at the table of his Last Supper
and we do as Jesus instructed us.
We remember his sacrifice on the Cross
by blessing, breaking and sharing the Bread of his Life,
by blessing and sharing the Cup of his Blood at this altar,
in the sacrifice of the Eucharist
and remembering the deliverance from sin and death that is ours,
deliverance from sin and death,
in the Passover of Jesus.
But Jesus didn’t only tell us to remember him in the Eucharist.
He promised to be our Eucharist.
So when we bless, break and share the bread we offer in thanksgiving,
we believe him when he tells us, This bread is my Body.
And when we bless and share the cup we offer in thanksgiving,
we believe him when he tells us, This is the cup of my Blood.
In this sacrament we are not sprinkled, we drink the blood
Christ spilled for us on the Cross.
He is atonement for our sins and in his Blood we are washed clean
not just once a year but every time
we eat this bread and drink this cup
and proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
In him and in the sacrifice he offered once on the Cross
and again now at this table, we are delivered, forgiven and saved.
In Communion with him we are all made one
for we are all sharers in the one Bread broken for us,
in the one Cup we share.
So let us approach the Lord’s Table with thanksgiving
for what he offers us here is more than we can imagine.
Let us approach the Lord’s Table with humility
for none of us deserves what we receive here.
Let us approach the Lord’s Table with reverence
for on this altar is laid the very Body and Blood of Christ.
Let us approach the Lord’s Table with all our brokenness
for we are about to receive the Lord who heals and mends us.
Let us approach the Lord’s Table with a hunger for life
and a thirst for mercy
for that is the food the Lord sets before us.
Let us approach the Lord’s Table in a spirit of prayer,
for here is food for our souls,
here is the Bread of Angels and the Cup of Salvation,
here is the Risen Lord, Christ Jesus, whose Body and Blood
we take and consume with solemnity,
with thanks, and with joy.
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