Homily Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ Year B

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Homily Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Reading 1: God has revealed to Moses the conditions of the covenant that he will enter into with his Chosen People. These conditions are the Commandments and their ramifications. These conditions reflect a way of life God was calling the people to exhibit. Their response: “We will do everything that the Lord has told us.” Yes. Amen. We accept and dedicate ourselves to this way of life.

In those days covenants were sealed with the sign of blood. The blood was a symbol of the life of the animal sacrificed. So Moses makes a sacrifice to God and uses the blood of the sacrificial animal to ratify and seal the agreement between God and his people. Underlying this action is the realization that if either party breaks this covenant, the other can take its life.

Moses splashed the blood on the altar, which represented God. He again reads the commands of God to the people. They again say “All that the Lord has said, we will do and heed.” Then he sprinkled the blood on them.

When we were baptized into Christ, we entered into a covenant with God. That covenant was sealed not with the blood of animals, but with the blood of Christ on the cross.  We were saved and freed from our sins. Each time we celebrated the Eucharist, we renew that covenant again in the blood of Christ. In that renewal, we are saying to God: “We will do everything that the Lord has told us.”

Reading 2: The author of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us of the greater significance of the Blood of Christ, shed upon the Cross than the blood of goats and bulls offered in the Old Testament. First of all, we recognize that God chose to become man, so that his blood as the God-Man may be the perfect sacrifice to the Father. The blood of the animals signified external purification not the internal reconciliation from sin and its effects.

The blood of Jesus offered on the cross for our redemption purifies our conscience from sin. The first purification takes place in baptism. But like the Old Testament people we have broken our baptismal covenant by not observing the commands of the Lord and not living a way of holiness because of sin. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation our sins are once more forgiven through the death and resurrection of Jesus, through his blood.

In the receiving of the Body and Blood of Jesus in Eucharist, we say the words: “Say the word and my soul shall be healed.” The blood of Christ in the Eucharist does not take away those sins which separate us from God but those that have cooled our relationship with him.

Gospel: The Last Supper was a Passover Meal connecting the observant Jew with the Exodus event. There God spared his people from the scourged of death of the first-born and delivered them from the bonds of slavery. The people on their part were to slaughter an unblemished lamb, sprinkle its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their home. Then they were to eat its roasted flesh. Thus, they were saved by God through the sign of the lamb’s blood.

Every year at the Passover, They would remind themselves through the ritual Passover meal what God had done and was doing for them. Through this meal they would renew their covenant with God.

Knowing that he was the new, definitive Passover Lamb, in the midst of the annual celebration, Jesus dramatically said: “Take this bread and eat of it for it is my Body.” He was the new Passover Lamb who through his death on the cross will deliver all from sin and save them from eternal death. Then he said: “Take this cup for it is the blood of the new covenant” which he was establishing with us. “Do this is memory of me.”  The Jews celebrated this meal annually. We celebrate it weekly and even daily in thanksgiving for what God has done for us. Our offering and our consuming of the Body and Blood of Jesus is a renewal of our covenant. Yes, we will do all that the Lord has told us to do.

Jesus gives us his Body and Blood as a sign and gift of his love that we may eat and not die spiritually. It also is a sign of the perfect sacrifice pleasing to God. It is also a sign of his continual presence with us. But this sign is a mystery that can only be embraced in faith because of who Jesus is. In faith, it reminds us that we are called to intimate union with Jesus, a union that will be eternalized when we are with God, sharing his divine life in glory.

Our response is to live faithfully our covenant commitment by doing what he has commanded us out of love and gratitude.

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