Bro. Errol Salcedo
For you, what is the most significant part of the Mass? How about when the priest presider says,
“At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, He took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you. In similar way, he took the chalice and, gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”
After the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity last Sunday, this week we have the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi. This celebration honors the Real Presence of the Risen Lord in the Eucharist in the Church. Historically, this feast was promulgated following the vision of the Juliana of Lige, an Augustinian nun, in which (according to her) Christ revealed and wished to have a feast in honor to his divine presence. When Cardinal Jaques Pantaleon became the Pope Urban IV, he established the feast for the universal church with the Papal bull entitled Transiturus de hoc Mundo. The Papal bull says, “[Our] Faith tells us that Christ is present [in the Eucharist] even if our human senses fail (tamtum ergo)… a unique and extraordinary gift, and the very the same gift given by the Giver.”
How good it is to realize that our loving God remembers His covenant forever through the sacrament of the Eucharist. Our God is constantly reminding us, “I am with you always until the end of time” (Mt. 28:20), an assurance that God is always with us (Emmanuel), willing to listen, and share our joys and sorrows. This history of salvation is identified with our covenant-relationship with God, a friendly relation which became the source of life and endless happiness. This relationship was found in the lives of people like Noah (Gen 6:18; 9:9-17), Abraham (Gen 15:18; 17:2-21), and the prophets.
In the First Reading (Ex 24:3-8), Moses came and told the people about the commandments of YHWH wherein they are all replied, “Everything that YHWH has said, we shall do and obey.”(Ex 24:3) Moses then wrote down all the words of YHWH, built an altar, and sprinkled the blood of the covenant which YHWH made unto them. This Jewish tradition continues to exist in celebrating the various feasts and festivals. These are celebrations on God’s faithfulness and infinite goodness throughout the history. The psalmist says, “How shall I make a return to the Lord, for the good He has done for me? The cup of salvation, and I call upon the name of the Lord.”(Ps 116: 12) One of these festivals is the feast of the unleavened bread (Mk 14: 12-16). Some scholars would claim that Jesus’ gestures of blessing and sharing the loaf of bread and the cup of wine to his disciples are actually ordinary gestures of the Jewish household. What made it extraordinary was when he turned the bread and wine into his body and blood: “Take this and eat of it, for this is my body,” “Take this and drink from it, for this is my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant.” Jesus actually portrays his life: his incarnation, his ministries, his passion and death, and resurrection. Jesus’ life is a God-given gift, the Word-made-flesh, and source of sanctification (a divine-human relationship).Thus, the Eucharist becomes the source of the new and everlasting life with God. It becomes the living memorial of God’s unending love and grace. The Letter to the Hebrews attests to the fact that only Jesus has the title of the high priest of the new and everlasting covenant. “He passed through the sanctuary more noble and perfect, not made by hands, with the blood of goats and bulls, but with his own blood. He offered himself, as an unblemished victim, to God, and his blood cleanses us from dead works, so that we may live and serve the living God.”(Heb 9:13)
Therefore, the sacrament of the most holy Body and Blood of Christ becomes the new and everlasting relationship with God, showing that in the midst of human frailty, God continues to offer His unending love and faithfulness to His chosen people. To end this reflection, I am reminded of my weekend apostolate of bring Holy Communion to the sick in the parish. Actually, there were times that I felt like I was just doing my apostolate out of obligation or compliance. However, when I found out how important it was to the sick and how this humble service transformed their lives, I realized that it was not about me or the work that I was doing but it was about the grace of God working through the situation and this holy sacrament. Have a blessed Sunday Everyone!
 Eucharistic Prayer II, in The Roman Missal, English trans. (Manila: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, 2012), 551.
 The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, edit. by Michael Glazier and Monika Hellwig (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1994), 11.
 Pope Urban IV, The Papal Bull Transiturus de Hoc Mundo (Rome: Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 1264.