Gospel Reflections

Feast of Corpus Christi

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Eileen Burns

Published: June 07, 2015


Today is the great feast of Corpus Christi when we not only celebrate but remember to treasure the great gift of “the body of Christ.”

Mark recalls the story and shares with us this “first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when they sacrificed the Passover lamb.” He situates the first Eucharist in time and practice. It was already a feast time, a time of celebrating. Such events always take preparation and call forth from us time, planning and energy. Feasts do not just happen and materialize out of nothing. Making the new unleavened bread, choosing a lamb for sacrifice and seeing to its preparation would be work. Even Jesus’ wandering friends know they need to make a plan. His disciples say to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”  The irony here is that they feel they are doing this for him, to feed him. They have no idea that Jesus’ plan is to feed them, to feed us all over the millennia from his very self. So, Jesus “sent two of his disciples” not one but more than one. How about us?  How are we being “sent” together as we remember and celebrate this great feast?

Let us pause here and remember that our tradition thinks of the “body of Christ” in more than one way. Yes, we have the consecrated hosts of Eucharist but also the community gathered as sign of Jesus continued presence.  The Eucharist embraces also all of creation, the cosmic Christ.

St. Augustine shared a beautiful night prayer that can help us to remember the breadth of the differences experienced in the body of Christ.:

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight,
And give your angels and saints charge over those who sleep.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And all for Love’s sake. Amen.

How are we being called to plan, to act, to be in service to all of the aspects of the body of Christ now in 2015?  Many social issues claim our attention. We see the lack of adoration of the body of Christ when systemic racism, tribalism, rejection of immigrants, domestic violence, political violence, human trafficking, devaluing others and lack of resources for people made poor seem to predominate. Our wounded planet earth also cries out for our care. We may be tempted to think we are responsible to do it all, fix it all on our own.  Yet, Jesus “sent”  two to make preparations for the feast even as we are sent to plan, to serve, to make a difference and ultimately experience the nourishment with which Jesus provides us in bread and wine, in living God’s love within the call to communion, to relationship with all that we encounter.  Life is a feast indeed!

 

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