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Food for Disciples
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus’s disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them,”This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Opening Prayer: My precious Jesus, thank you for the gift of your Body and Blood in the Eucharist. On this feast of Corpus Christi, I offer you praise and gratitude for this immense source of grace in my life.
- Christ’s Hospitality: Jesus arranged everything for the Passover feast. The upper room was “furnished and ready.” The table was set for a feast of remembrance: the Passover that would become the first Eucharistic banquet. Not only did Jesus prepare the setting, he provided the meal as well. For his Body is true food and his Blood is true drink (John 6:55). Like the ram caught in the brambles on Mount Moriah, God himself provided the lamb for the sacrifice (cf. Genesis 22:13). Christ himself became our Paschal victim, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). In what ways has Christ offered you his hospitality? When has he arranged situations and provided for you? What things could you detach from and allow him to take care of for you?
- Food for Disciples: The Eucharist is food for the disciples. All those gathered in the upper room were Christ’s followers. In Jesus’s hands, the Passover bread became the very flesh of Our Lord. He blessed, broke, and gave his Body to his disciples to spiritually nourish and sustain them for the trial of his suffering and death to come. As Jesus’s disciples today, we receive the very same food that the first disciples received that day. It prepares us for the trials in our own lives in the same way it prepared the apostles to endure the Passion. Christ gives us the same nourishment that he gave to St. Peter, St. James, St. John, and the rest of the apostles because we have the same mission: to proclaim the Gospel and be his ambassadors to the culture around us (2 Corinthians 5:20). We can ask ourselves if our vocations and ministries are truly nourished by our reception and adoration of the Eucharist.
- Christ in Us: St. Augustine taught of the Eucharist, “Behold the mystery of your salvation laid out for you; behold what you are, become what you receive.” When we eat regular food, it is transformed and becomes part of us. But in a mysterious way, when we consume Jesus’s Body in the Eucharist, it does not become our flesh; in fact, we are transformed into him. We become like Jesus, not the other way around. Pope Benedict XVI said, “The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, his own Flesh and Blood.” Christ comes to dwell within us when we worthily receive the Eucharist. We become living tabernacles of his Presence. Like Mary carrying Christ in her womb to love and serve Elizabeth (cf. Luke 1:39), we can carry his Presence to love and serve the people around us.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, how marvelous it is that you give me your Body in the ultimate act of self-giving love. Thank you for feeding and nourishing me in such an intimate yet powerful way. I thank you for how you have healed me in the past through the gift of your Body and Blood. I know that you give me this precious gift so that I will share your love with others and not keep your graces only for myself. Please imbue me with your loving, merciful Presence and give me the fortitude to carry it out to serve others out of love for you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend time contemplating you in the Eucharist and how my service as a disciple is connected to your nourishing gift.
For Further Reflection: Read this article, “Augustine’s Favorite Apologist Explains the Eucharist,” from Word on Fire.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.