Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary # 170 for Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of
the Lord, Corpus Christi. Genesis 14:18-20. Psalm 110: I
Corinthians 11:23-26. Luke 9:11-17.

Christ is alive for us in the Eucharist. Today's celebration includes
processions, benediction, and other para-liturgical ceremonies to capture
the joy and thankfulness we have for this gift of God present among us each
day. The Eucharist is the summit of the liturgy. To appreciate this
wonderful gift of the Presence of the Lord, we need to be baptized and we
need to prepare for celebrating and receiving the holy Body and Blood of
the Lord. The readings for today are an excellent way of preparing ahead
of the Mass for the Eucharist and for receiving Christ in this sacrament.
We briefly comment on them.

St. Paul is a great pastoral person and he is trying to get the Corinthians
fo be reverent and generous with one another in celebrating the sacrament
of Christ's Body and Blood. They were making side celebrations more
important and were selfish about whom they enjoyed their food and
beverages. That is far from what the Eucharist means in the Scriptures and
for St. Paul. He is handing on to us what he received from the oral
tradition and he gives us the earliest passage on the Eucharist in the New
Testament (probably around 57 A.D. some ten to fifteen years before Mark
was written). Paul relates this act of love and thanksgiving to the death
and the final coming of Christ. He is placing it within the context of what
we call the Paschal Mysteries of Christ's life, sufferings, death on a
Cross, and resurrection. He does not forget the return of the Lord to God
nor his return at the end of time for us. This sacrament for Paul is a
personal and communitaran action that enables him and the believing
community to have an encounter that is meaningful with Christ.

Why do we read from Genesis on this feast? The symbolic actions of a
mysterious person named Melchizedek give us the symbolic offerings of bread
and wine--which are the elements we use in this sacred sign of Jesus'
presence. His name can mean king of justice and that too fits the role of
Jesus in God's plan of salvation. The text of Genesis leads us into a Psalm
that is messianic for most Christians and possibly for some Jewish
scholars. Psalm 110 and Psalm 2 complement each other. Jesus also used it
to refer to his relationship to the Father. Symbolic language is important
for worship and for the liturgy. The Scriptures themselves often use
symbols to help us understand some of the mystery of believing in God and
God's Son. They lead us to see the sacraments in a much better manner when
we are open to symbolic language. John's Gospel is filled with such
language and actions. The six accounts of the multiplication of the
loaves also show us how important these symbols are and how they relate to
the words that Jesus uses to give us who he is in this sacrament. Matthew
and Mark have two multiplications of the loaves and fish; John has one;
our Evangelist for today's liturgy has one and that is the focus for this
solemnity. Jesus takes the five loaves and the two fishes, raises his eyes
to heaven, pronounces a blessing over them, breaks the bread and gives it
to his disciples to distribute. We see in these words and actions of Jesus
the foretelling of the words that are effective in the Eucharist. On the
hillsides of Galilee he feeds those who are hungry for ordinary sustenance;
in the sacrament he gives himself for our spiritual nourishment and for our
recalling and actuating his intimate connection through love for us. This
gift was given for our redemption and was poured out for our healing and
salvation. It is an existential contact with the Lord; an encounter with
Christ; an agape or total giving in love for us. No one has greater love
than the person who lays down his life for another. He did this for all of

Symbolically the celebrant lifts his eyes to heaven in one of the
Eucharistic Prayers (the First Eucharistic Prayer) and Eucharistic Prayers
contain the words that are said by Jesus both in the multiplication
miracles and in the Passover Meal shared with the apostles. The
distribution symbolically calls us to feed the poor but also to be
recipients of Jesus himself in the sacrament.

Christ comes to us and is alive in our hearts when we participate in the
Eucharist. As often as you do this, Jesus tells us, do it in memory of me.
Finally, a rabbi from New York on the God Squad program was very
enthusiastic about Psalm 34: 9 where it can be translated as "Oh, taste and
see that the Lord is good." This expression captures the spirit we try to
have when receiving the Lord Jesus. We are called to see how good it is to
savor the Lord. True, the word in Hebrew can mean "Consider how good the
Lord is," but as the Hebrew commentary says, "literally "taste" a
significant word. More effective than theorizing about God's goodness is
the test of experience. Only by encountering it in one's life can it be
really known." (Soncino Commentary on the Psalms, p.100). We have much to
be thankful for in the Eucharist which means Thanksgiving! Amen.