Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ - The Gift of Covenant

The central focus throughout all of scripture is that of covenant - of man's relationship to God and of God's enduring faithfulness to man.  Covenants are critical to understanding the fierce and unrelenting love that God has for mankind. They act as the structure upon which the entire story of salvation is built. From Genesis on, God enters into one covenant after another, constantly forgiving man's broken promises and consistently renewing the divine desire to embrace his people in order to rescue his world and declare his divine love. These covenant relationships push that narrative forward until it reaches its climax in Jesus.


Today we are reminded once again that when Jesus invites his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he invites each of us to take his life into the very center of our being. The life which he offers is the very life of God himself - the beginning of a "new" covenant, a new relationship between Creator and mankind.

Jesus took the staples of everyday sustenance - bread and wine - and told His friends that each time they gathered together to share this food and drink they would be consuming His body and blood and that they should do this regularly so as not to forget him.

In early Christian communities people met in their homes to share in this meal, to give thanks and to remember. Today, we do not meet in homes.  But perhaps we should because, at times, we seem to forget what Eucharist really means. 

At home, we gather around our family table not merely to eat and drink, but to be healed of anger, to be refreshed in our weariness, and to strengthen the bond of love and concern that makes us a family. So, too, Jesus invites us to gather around the table of the altar to give and receive reconciliation and forgiveness, to be filled with new strength when we have grown tired in our struggle to be witnesses to the Gospel, and to reinforce the oneness in faith and love that makes us a holy people, a "holy communion", a group of people bound together as His faithful followers.

The Eucharist is a gift, not just to be adored and reverenced in beautiful church buildings once a week, but also to be consumed, digested, and lived by every Christian, every day. What were once the simple gifts of bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of our Savior. It is the new covenant between God and mankind. It is not a private gift, but a communal one.  It is the most intimate and complete self-giving of Christ, freely gifted for the life of the world.  And it is an invitation not only to receive His Body and Blood, but also to become His Body and Blood for others.

There is much to reflect upon today as we celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ.  The New Covenant offers the unselfish love of God through Jesus, poured out and transformed in the simple gifts of bread and wine.  That is God's promise to us.  Our promise to God is a response to this gift.  It is a shared communion in which we commit ourselves to become a "holy people" - to "be" the body and blood of Christ in all we do.

We are a community that shares the bread of life in a meal of equality.  In eating this bread and drinking this cup, we hope that we can look beyond our shortcomings and differences to see the body of Christ we already are - and are becoming.