CATHOLIC HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST YEAR B
THEME: THE CLEANSING POWER THE OF THE EUCHARIST
BY: Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe
HOMILY: Some foreigners in a certain land disobeyed the laws of the land and were put into prison before they would be executed. They requested to see the king to plead for amnesty. On hearing their request, the king decided to visit them in prison. In his simplicity, he wore ordinary clothes but unfortunately the foreigners could not recognize him because they had not known him previously. They ignored him when he introduced himself to them as the king because they expected to see a man in royal outfit.
Unfortunately, the king left them without any favour because they could not value him. He seemed to be too casual but he preferred simplicity so as to be approachable.
Often times, we experience this kind of situation when we meet important people, at other times, when we encounter something of value before us, either because we are familiar with it or because it is presented in ordinary form. That is why today, the church wants us to re-evaluate our value for the Holy Eucharist through this solemnity of the body and blood of Christ. Unlike on Holy Thursday when we reflect on the Holy Eucharist, the Sacred Priesthood and love, today our attention will be focused only on the Eucharist, precisely on its cleansing power.
The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. The theology of the Holy Eucharist regards it not just as sacred but as the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in all His fullness. Our concern is not on the theology of the Holy Eucharist but on its implications for us. The Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. In the first reading (Exodus 24: 3 – we see the relevance of blood in a covenant. Moses used the blood of animals as a sign and seal of the covenant God made with lsrael. The covenant would be incomplete without the blood of those animals.
Today, we are living not on the old covenant but on the new covenant and one of the differences between the old covenant and the new covenant is the victim of the oblation. In the old covenant animals were the victims but in the new covenant, Jesus became the victim using his own blood as the seal of the covenant. Thus, the Eucharist is both a sign and symbol of the covenant. It liberates us from the law and allows us to live in the grace and love of God.
However, the relevance of the blood of Jesus Christ in the new covenant is its cleansing power. It cleanses us from sin because it was shed for the forgiveness of sins once and for all as the second reading (Heb 9: 11-15) reminds us. For this reason, we are now capable of encountering Christ in the Eucharist when we prepare ourselves well. The Eucharist is also able to cleanse us of our fears, troubles, tribulations, worries, sicknesses and problems if we approach it with reverence. The gospel reading (Mk 14:12-16, 22-26) reminds us of the institution of the most Holy Eucharist and assures us of its sameness with Christ who is God. Jesus at his last supper instituted the Holy Eucharist by changing bread and wine to his body and blood. Through the Eucharist, he fulfills his promise to be with us until the end of time.
Beloved friends, today the Church wants you to go home with the consciousness of the Holy Eucharist. Do not forget that in it you will find cleansing for your spiritual and temporal problems. Perhaps you have been searching for God like those foreigners or waiting to encounter Him, either for mercy or for a favour. Do you realize that the King of Kings is patiently waiting for you in the Holy Eucharist? Do not ignore him in the Eucharist now that you know, else you lose his favour. In the Eucharist, Christ makes himself a prisoner of love for our sake. He patiently waits for us in the tabernacle to see who will visit him. Exposed in the monstrance, he is always ready to listen to us if we can confidently come to discuss our problems with him. In the Holy Eucharist, we can have a direct encounter with Jesus through adoration and reception and this is what we do at Mass; listen to him, adore him and receive him into us. He is always ready for those who need him.
Is there anything keeping you from adoring and receiving Jesus at Mass? Are there sins you need to confess in other to be worthy? Take advantage of the confessional today. The Baltimore Catechism reminds us that the chief effects of a worthy Holy Communion are: first, a closer union with Our Lord and a more fervent love of God and of our neighbor; second, an increase of sanctifying grace; third, preservation from mortal sin and the remission of venial sin; fourth, the lessening of our inclinations to sin and the help to practice good works. Through the Eucharist we receive, may Jesus ever abide with us so that all who encounter us will see Christ in us.
Happy Sunday. God loves you.
Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe