A Note From Fr. LeRoy
St. Augustine once wrote that “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.” For example, when we read about the priesthood of Christ in the New Testament, the Book of Hebrews 5-7, says Jesus is an eternal priest-king according to the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was “a priest of God most high” and also the king of Salem (present day Jerusalem). In 1800 B.C. he brought an offering of bread and wine as a sacrifice of thanksgiving on behalf of Abraham and as a blessing for him (Gen 14:18). Because Melchizedek offered bread and wine as a thanksgiving offering, he is seen as a prefigure of Christ who offered bread and wine in thanksgiving to the Father at the Last Supper as well.
During the forty years of wandering in the desert (after God freed his Holy People from slavery in Egypt) God fed Moses and the Israelite's in the desert with “manna from heaven” as they made their way to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 8:3). That manna was considered so holy that some of it was kept in the Ark of the Covenant. Jesus spoke of a “new manna” from heaven saying “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6: 49-51) Jesus fulfills all the Old Testament types of various persons and events which point to himself and what God is doing for us!
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) which is the source and summit of our Catholic Christian life. For over 2000 years Church Tradition has taught that the Eucharist is not merely a symbol of Jesus present in the bread and wine, but that He is truly present body, blood, soul and divinity in these forms for us to consume and become part of us. The Eucharist celebrates the fulfillment of God’s great desire to be one with us and to establish an everlasting covenant with us which all but guarantees our forgiveness, reconciliation and eternal life. This is provided that we believe and strive to cooperate with Christ’s presence at work in us.
When we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, we enter into a deeper communion with Jesus and with one another. These go hand in hand. We become the “Body of Christ” present in our world, and like Jesus we commit ourselves to doing our Father’s will, opening ourselves to even accepting a share of Christ’s sufferings so as to also receive a share in his glory. Through the Body and Blood of Christ, we are never alone in our efforts because sharing in the Eucharist makes us a covenant community with him. This oneness in the Eucharist should lead us to oneness throughout our daily living.
Today’s feast is a strong reminder of the realities of our Catholic Christian life. It reminds us of God’s desire to be intimately one with us and the Eucharist is the place where that happens most clearly. As we eat Jesus’ Body and drink his Blood, he lives in us and we in him. We are
drawn deeper into union with all the members of the Church as we grow to become more fully living members of our Lord. And as, “One Body” we continue the mission of Jesus to announce the Good News of God’s love, especially to those who need to hear God’s love most.
Today, let’s be sure to give thanks for this precious gift and ponder the wonder of this sacrament. Let’s also re-dedicate ourselves to living out our oneness as we continue our journey in faith to the promise Jesus has granted to us.
Peace in Christ, Fr. LeRoy Scheierl