YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
THEME: THE BLOOD THAT PLEADS FOR MERCY
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading Prov.9:1-6
Second reading – Eph 5:15-20
Gospel – Jn 6: 51-58
Naturally, the blood of a human being innocently spilled cries for vengeance and destruction. In Gen 4:10, the blood of Abel, the first innocent human bloodshed according to Biblical history, cried to God for vengeance. Thus Jesus speaks angrily to the Jews about the revenge to be taken for every blood of man shed innocently– Matt 23:35. Many communities are in trouble today because of innocent human blood used for sacrifice which has continued to cry for vengeance. Many persons go through great challenges today because of the innocent blood of infants shed in abortion. God never permitted human sacrifice. Yes He never allowed Abraham to sacrifice His only son Isaac. Instead, a ram was sent.
Why would animal sacrifice not bring disaster and that of man would? I think it is because while both man and animals share the instinct of self preservation, humans are endowed with will of their own which animals have not. In order words, animals having no will of their own are used for whatever is chosen for them . On the contrary, a man must be sacrificed against his will. He would die crying and cursing, and so, he must be crying for vengeance. Jesus was the only one who was qualified to decide by His own will, to choose to let His own body be given up, and His own blood be shed for the life of the world – and the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world- Jn.6:51. On the cross, this bread, the body of Christ thus was given for the life of the world. Whenever we talk about the body of Christ being given up, and the bread, we recall the Eucharist – the Sacrament of the Body and Blood Christ, the centre of all Christian mysteries.
It is very painful that false teaching has swept many into believing that the Eucharist is not the true Body and Blood of Christ. To such people, it is meaningless and as such, not worth receiving. As we recall, at the event of the last supper (Matt. 26:26), Jesus took a piece of bread and proclaimed that the same bread, after He had given thanks (and same with the wine) are no longer bread and wine, rather His same body that would be given up, and His same Blood that would be poured for the remission of sins. Are the words of Jesus true? Do you not believe them? Wait a minute, is your problem why we must receive it constantly or at all? Now, Jesus gave two commands in this event of instituting the Eucharist:
– take this all of you and eat it/drink from it
– Matt. 26:26 – do this in memory of me
– Lk. 22:19 The second is as important as the first. It means that as often as we celebrate and partake of the Eucharist, we recall what Jesus did for us. We must keep in mind always that Jesus gave us Himself. Thanks to the Holy Mother Catholic Church, even this second you are reading this, the Eucharist is being celebrated somewhere in the world.
Have you been separated from the Eucharist for a long time? It means you have broken communion with the source of your life. St Paul asks: what shall separate us from the love of Christ – (Rom. 8-35)? Examine yourself today, what is it that has separated you from this great love of Christ; false teaching, your sins? Set up that bridge once more. He receives you with open arms when you come. Eat His Body; drink His Blood that you may live. May His blessings be upon you.