Our most precious possession is the Eucharist. Possession because the Eucharist is the real presence of Christ who gave Himself to the Church, consequently to each of us.
On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ we recall our history. In the middle of treachery, betrayal, denial—Jesus celebrated the first Holy Mass from the roots of the Passover meal. He told His Apostles, “Do this in memory of me.” The Apostles could not believe what they were hearing. Jesus changed years of tradition to create something completely new. The God to whom sacrifice had been offered became the sacrifice. The Exodus story of years of wondering in the desert, marking the doors with lamb’s blood for the angel of death to pass-over them, coming into the Promised Land—all culminated on the night when Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant which will be shed for many.” The Lord promised, “The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever.” The Apostles were confused. The saw pain on the face of Jesus but could not understand the reason. Not until years later did the words come to make sense. After the crucifixion, death and resurrection the small group of believers started to piece together the sayings of Jesus into what we call the Gospels. St. Paul, who had persecuted and killed Christians, became one of the founders of Christianity. Some of his writings precede the Gospels. Took a lot of courage to go against the establishment. Countless died for what they believed.
Courage, passion, respect for the Eucharist is sometimes missing because we get into a routine. The gift can be taken for granted. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are coming from countries where there is persecution. Suffering is intimately connected with Eucharist. No wonder that we say, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Not because it’s a sacrifice to come, but because of the Sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Until we have personally suffered we really cannot appreciate the full impact of Holy Mass. Maturity of Faith happens when we can look beyond the sign and symbol to embrace mystery above logical understanding. The challenge is to look beyond to discover how we are all connected with the One who’s Body and Blood we receive.
Body and Blood of Christ is never about “me”, always about “us.” “Take this, all of you.” Not “Take this you, or some of you.” We put limits on the mercy of God, especially when we don’t like them. “They should not be receiving Holy Communion. Oh, if people only knew. I don’t think that they are married in the Church.” Judgment calls are plentiful. But God’s mercy is greater than all the rules put together, greater than all the sins of the world. No one is worthy to receive Holy Communion. So why play the worthy/unworthy game? Why try to measure a person’s worthiness? Only God knows the heart. Remember, Jesus gave Holy Communion to Judas, knowing that Judas was going to betray Him. Fact is that all of the Apostles betrayed Him. They all ran away. Repentance, acceptance of God’s grace, remembering their call brought the Apostles back. Once they were forgiven, they became invincible. The small community went out to preach about the freedom of forgiveness. That’s what Mass—Misa means—means sent. To go out and announce the Good News that we have been forgiven, regardless of our offenses. The Good News that we can never be worthy but that God makes us worthy.
“Ite, missa est.” Deo grátias .” The Mass is ended, Thanks be to God. Another translation might be. The Mass is ended, go out and live what you believe. Tell everybody how much God loves us