Body & Blood of Christ – 2018

CorpChristiB18.  Exodus 24:3-8.  “When Moses came to the people and related all the words and ordinances of the Lord, they all answered with one voice, ‘We will do everything that the Lord has told us.’”  To accept God as one’s God we must submit to his authority over us.  This is not a horizontal relationship between equals but a vertical relationship between those who have been created and their Creator, between those who live in a state of absolute dependence and the One on whom we can utterly depend upon forever.  A second time Moses reads to them the covenant and a second time they accept but this time he sprinkles half of the blood of the sacrifice on them and the other half on the altar to symbolize that God and the people are bound together by the covenant. Blood which symbolizes life or the life-giving force is used to indicate that the covenant is now operative as the life giving relationship between God and his people.

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26.  At their celebration of the Passover, the last meal that Jesus was to eat before dying on the Cross, what we traditionally call ‘The Last Supper,’  Jesus establishes the new covenant that then super cedes that of Old Testament.  Of the bread he shares with the Apostles, Jesus says, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he shared the cup with them saying, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”  This all precedes his actually offering up himself; body and blood on the cross as a once and for all time sacrifice to God the Father to atone for our sins.  At Mass we re-present that same sacrifice on the cross, since he is not dying over and over again.

Hebrews 9:11-15.  The offering up of the blood of goats and bulls was repeated endlessly in the old covenant to sanctify those who were defiled in any way.  In the new covenant the blood of Christ once offered up, only needs to be re-presented to God the Father to cleanse us from our sins, since the one offering on the cross has infinite, endless value before God.  Jesus is the “mediator of the new covenant,” who presents his sacrifice to his Father for our benefit. In Hebrews 9:24-26  we read, “For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world.  But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.” In Romans 5:8- 9, Paul writes, “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.” Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Our reception of Jesus in the Eucharist enables us to go to the Father through the Son who is the only way to the Father, in other words, the only way to heaven.