Emmitsburg Council of Churches

The Body and Blood of Christ…

Father John J. Lombardi

The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ… "What was visible in our Redeemer has passed over into the sacraments." +Pope Leo the Great

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?" +I Cor. 10:16

Pope John Paul II­with all his responsibilities’ in the world, used to prostrate himself before Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in his private chapel. to completely surrender himself, man,. to HimSelf-the-Lord…How can you surrender yourself to Jesus more in the Holy Eucharist? How will you?

A little girl was running to her First holy Communion in her new, spotless white dress and prayed just before leaving for Church: "O Lord Jesus, please help me get there on time!" She left and dodged ab us on the way, avoided a snarling dog and even a dinosaur. She then came to a street corner saw a mud puddle and fell into it and got all muddy, her white dress mangled. She got up and said: O Jesus, thank you for helping me hurry, but you don’t have to push me."

ABC’s of Corpus Christi Awareness of Blood’s Continuation, and…

A=Atonement: Jesus’s self-immolation in the Mass (as on Calvary) is the spiritual debt He pays for our sins, humankind’s sins, much like a waterfalls overflows and cleanses the grimy ground beneath it. By His very Blood-shed, He gives life to us, for, as the Bible says, in the life is blood (Lv. 17: 12), He emptied Himself and freed us. He filled us up with New Life. In other words, in contemporary images, we humans were supposed to go to jail or be on a chain gang and/or pay a penalty in our place, and He did all this for us. This is all mystically re-presented in every Mass you go to: So be grateful and adore Him, love Him. Thank Him!

B-Become one with the Son­in the Most holy Eucharist. Love adheres to the object beloved, so be with Him in His Eucharistic Presence. See His divine Presence and Union­read. St Jn. 6:56 and realize this Union!

C=Community. We build up the Body of Christ-as-Church when we attend Mass. We need one another­Christ’s brothers and sisters. This is why it is a serious sin to miss Mass on Sunday, for Jesus wants us to celebrate with a community of believers, not by ourselves, for we need one another’s gifts and talents and enthusiasm.

D=Divinity: Real Presence. In a book I’m reading, "Retreat Companion for Priests," by Rev. Francis Harvey, I read about people’s longings: "They (lay faithful) want not a memory of Him but His real Presence. They want not to discuss Him as a mystery but to walk and talk with Him; they want personal access to His open wound and guaranteed pardon; they want the saving influx of His Precious Blood." You, we all want "personal access…to the saving influx of His Precious Blood." Yes-we have that in the Mass! Now, most of us give nice gifts like flowers or candy or maybe a red race car to others. But who gives his or her very self to others? Maybe not too many folks, but: at least we’re supposed to­esp couples in marriage and priests in their Gift to Christ’s Church thru their priesthood. Anyway: Jesus Christ gives us Himself, His very Self­and He is Divine­un-created and, therefore, totally dependable and Love Itself (Cf. I Jn. 4:8).

E: Equanimity means peace. Man is naturally at enmity with God--until baptism and/or we make conscious reconciliation with the Lord. So the Eucharist, as for the Jewish Passover, is, literally, a "Peace-Meal" (No: you don’t have to be a hippie to understand or attend it!). Many times in various Eucharistic prayers the priest prays at the altar: "May this sacrifice which has made our peace with You (God-the Father)…" The priest is praying on behalf of all the people­that’s his main job, to intercede/plead­and ask for reconciliation between God and man. This is a paradox: easy to understand (the fundamentals of peace between warring parties­just think of Palestinians and Jews; Shiites and Sunni Muslims); however it is difficult to accept: that there are warring parties, namely mankind at enmity against God. We humans sometimes think (take your pick): everything’s rosy; we made our peace and reconciliation long ago; or, that’s an old-dinosaur theology of gaining peace with God, etc. Well, we’re still praying it--for peace and reconciliation with God--in every Mass, and Vatican II confirmed it.

Upshot: look at the devastations in Myanmar and China­with nearly a tenth of a million people killed and subsequent repressions of aid-helping workers there. We thru this both Mother Nature and human nature in war with God (Cf. Rm. 8,where St Paul says Nature is made subject to futility.) In the Mass then we need pray for peace and reconciliation with God. Now: Think of the evil of how some American cities have a murder every day (Cain killing Abel raised a cry to Heaven: thus causing a dissension from God. Think of how God was, is saddened, as some priests abused children. Think of the enmity of so much drug abuse around our country and world and the negative relationship this causes with God and remember­we do need seek His Peace and cure and reconciliation, and: we have all this in the Mass precisely because it is Jesus Christ, the God-Man, therefore Infinite Mercy and Love, offered to the Eternal Father Who is ever merciful and Who, alone, can bring about this Peace. So: seek God’s mercy; never leave anything for granted

Some people have accused Catholics (and Christians) of being cannibals­the eating of dead, human flesh. Well, this is wrong on 3 accounts. First: Jesus is alive­He is not dead: read the Emmaus account (Lk. 24:13). Second: He is not a human­He is a Divine-human, and therefore we are consuming God. Third: We eat the Holy Eucharist not to survive (as cannibals) but to thrive: to be Divinized into God’s life.

You’ve heard the contemporary saying: "Think Outside the Box": Well, we Catholics do esp. when we go to Church and participate in Eucharistic adoration. Jesus is literally "in the box" of the tabernacle, and, while we are sitting or kneeling there, we can think of Him. So, literally, we’re thinking outside the box. However, take the next step­Go inside the Box. That is, join Him, Jesus-the-Bread-of-Life inside the Box-Tabernacle­be-with-Him there as He is actually, physically present! For instance, after you go in church and kneel and see the Tabernacle-box, actively send your heart’s affections to Him there in the Tabernacle-box (image this now and actually do it n prayer in church). Another image: send Him a thought, in the Tabernacle-box–such as He is All Loving Lord and I love Thee of Jesus: press the "send" button in your mind’s powerful intellection system and drive the sentiment into the Tabernacle and inside one of the ciboria-holders of the Holy Eucharist. Lastly: by your spirit­the active part of your soul, send forth your whole being to Him there in the tabernacle: this time, be with Him in the Sacred Host­with no separation. Practice these meditations and let them inhere in you and become habitual. Do not just leave the Lord Jesus "up there" at the box-tabernacle and you, down here, in the pew, far off. No: unite! Do you think He came to Earth­and remains on Earth­to simply be a boxed-up God?

St Paul says that when we receive the Lord in serious sin, mortal sin (I Cor. 11:28ff ) we bring judgment upon ourselves and defile the Lord. Image it this way: Do you want to welcome Jesus into the house-of-your-body-soul as like a dumpster (serious sin)? No: so go to confession and get the grime out and receive Him like the Blessed Virgin Mary

How to respond:

Make a holy hour­go in church and pray to the Lord and listen to Him: simply be with Him! Go to Mass frequently­once or more during the week. Read and study about he Holy Eucharist: See. St John’s Gospel Ch. 6

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi