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CORPUS CHRISTI

CORPUS CHRISTI

(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST [Year A] –  Sunday, 18 June 2017)

 

Gospel Reading: John 6:51-58 

First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16; Psalms: Psalm 147:12-15,19-20, Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

The Scripture Text

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” (John 6:51-58 RSV)

As the Jews wandered through the desert after escaping from Egypt they started grumbling because they did not have enough food to eat. God heard their complaint and provided them with bread from heaven, which they called manna. 

God saved His people from starvation by feeding them much like a mother feeds her children with food they need to grow strong and healthy. Therefore, the Jews considered manna to be a symbol of God’s saving power and a sign of His great love for His people.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus compares His body and blood in the Eucharist to the manna His Father gave the Jews in the desert. Jesus’ body and blood is special food from heaven which, like the manna, is evidence of God’s saving power and His great love.

Although Jesus’ body and blood and the manna are similar, they are not identical because those who ate the manna in the desert still died but those who eat Jesus’ body and drink His blood will have eternal life. Therefore, Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist is greater than the manna and is an even better expression of God’s saving power and love for His people.

Jesus promised those who eat His flesh and drink His blood will rise from their graves. This promise is the foundation for the Christian belief that at the end of the world we will rise from the dead just as Jesus rose from the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. Like Jesus’ resurrection, our own resurrection will be bodily and not just spiritual.

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels, pages 114-115.) 

Short Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You gave Your Church an admirable sacrament as the abiding memorial of Your passion. Teach us to worship the sacred mystery of Your Body and Blood, that its redeeming power may sanctify us always. We pray this in Your name, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 16 June 2017 

A Christian Pilgrim 

 

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SOME NOTES ON THE EUCHARIST

SOME NOTES ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST

(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of CORPUS CHRISTI – Sunday, 29 May 2016) 

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:11-17 

First Reading: Genesis 14:18-20; Psalms: Psalm 110:1-4, Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 

YESUS MEMBERI MAKAN 5000 ORANG LAKI-LAKIThe Scripture Text

When the crowds learned it, they followed Him; and He welcomed them and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away; and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And He said to His disciples, “make them sit down in companies, about fifty each.” And they did so, and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fist he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9:11-17 RSV) 

Corpus Christi Sunday is a day when we celebrate Jesus’ goodness in feeding us through the Holy Eucharist.

Christianity is a belief (a set of beliefs) and not a theory. Granted there is a great deal of intellectual work involved in the Catholic-Christian story. For we understand theology to be faith seeking understanding (fides quaerens intellectum). However, we can never rest with mere intellectual constructions. To do so would reduce Christianity to a head-game. We could be very orthodox (correct beliefs) but still be deficient in orthopraxis (correct action). Christianity is a belief which demands costly grace and the willingness to be a disciple in the most ultimate ways of love. Jesus did not merely preach the Kingdom; He also ushered it in through His birth, death and resurrection. It is not those who say Lord, Lord, but those who do the will of the Father in heaven who are saved (Matthew 7:21)

The above discussion is very important for understanding of the Eucharist. We often hear it said, “I am going to receive the Eucharist.” Or we say, “I am going to church.” Some even say, “I am going to hear Mass.” There is something very passive and inactive about such phrases. For we are called to do more than just “receive” the Eucharist or “go” to church and “hear” Mass. We are to actively receive the Eucharist or “go” to church and “hear” Mass. We are to actively receive the Eucharist. We are to be Church and proclaim as well as hear the celebration of the Mass.

770295ee - EKARISTIThe feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ, is anything but a theory or some inactive dogma. All good dogmas and teaching are worthy of our active allegiance. They help us to know and do the truth. We believe that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist. We believe that the Eucharist is the food for eternal life. We believe that the Eucharist is the food which transforms us and changes our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh centered in Christ. Do we really believe this? Lord, help our disbelief. Help us to become more like the body of Christ we celebrate.

How is this to be done? The words of Jesus in our Gospel reading are a good place to start! “Why do you not give them something to eat yourselves?” To be as well as to receive the Eucharist means involvement and care for others. This care is both spiritual and material. We do not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Neither do we live without bread and the basic material necessities of life. It is not enough to say that we believe in the Eucharist and the real presence. To stop with a verbal affirmation would render the Eucharist a splendid theory. However, when we put the Eucharist into practice it becomes a genuine belief. When we clothe the naked and feed the hungry, make welcome the stranger and provide for homeless we show what we believe (see Matthew 25:31-46). When we share our beliefs about God in a way that is both confident and respectful, we mirror the example of Jesus. He refused to call down thunder on those who disagreed (Luke 9:51-56). He allowed those who found His teachings too hard to leave His company (John 6:66).

In conclusion, we must put into practice what we believe. We should observe the effects or fruits of a given belief in the lives of those who hold the belief. What do others observe in our lives? Are we a people of the Eucharist who believe that Jesus is really present and so really give thanks? Are we living reminders of the real presence of Jesus? Each time we come together to eat the bread, drink the cup and hear the word, do we proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes?

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You gave Your Church an admirable sacrament as the abiding memorial of Your passion. Teach us so to worship the sacred mystery your Body and Blood, that its redeeming power may sanctify us always.

Jakarta, 27 May 2016  

A Christian Pilgrim 

 

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PRAYER FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (CORPUS CHRISTI)

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Jakarta, 7 June 2015

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

(A biblical reflection on SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY SUNDAY: THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST – June 7, 2015) 

Gospel Reading: Mark 14:12-16,22-26 

First Reading: Exodus 24:3-8; Psalms: Psalm 116:12-13,15-18, Second Reading: Hebrews 9:11-15

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The Scripture Text

And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where will You have us go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The teacher says, Where is My guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with My disciples?’  And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready, there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

And as they were eating, He took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and give it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:12-16,22-26 RSV) 

“…… all those are damned who see the sacrament of the Body of Christ which is consecrated on the altar in the form of bread and wine by the words of our Lord in the hands of the priest, and do not see or believe in spirit and in God that this is really the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Most High Himself who has told us, This is My Body and Blood of the new covenant  (Mark 14:22-24), and, He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has life everlasting” (John 6:55) [St. Francis of Assisi, THE ADMONITIONS, I ]

770295ee - EKARISTIToday’s celebration of Corpus Christi is an opportunity to renew our appreciation of the Holy Eucharist, by trying to realize just one truth among many about the Eucharist. That one truth is the “Real Presence of Christ” in the Eucharist.

The hallmark of Catholic piety is the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This belief is so fundamental a part of our faith that one simply cannot be a Catholic without it. It is very appropriate, then, that we celebrate each year this feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the holy Eucharist.

And yet we must not concentrate so much on the fact that Christ is present in the Eucharist, that we fail to see why He is present. We should not think that Christ becomes present solely so that we may receive Him in Communion, nor should we confuse the Mass with a Eucharistic devotion such as a holy hour. In other words, we need a larger view of the Eucharist.

In the early days of the Church, the Eucharist was reserved after Mass only for the purpose of giving Communion to the sick and dying who could not come to Mass. Our own devotion helps us to see that there are other reasons for reserving the Blessed Sacrament in our churches. But we need not fear that the early Catholics doubted in any way what we call “the Real Presence”. The “Real Presence” was, you might say, taken for granted as only the starting point for the profound meaning of the Eucharist, which was celebrated as an event, a happening, making real on the altar the one sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the supreme worship of the Father.

The Mass is the un-bloody sacrifice of the cross. Jesus died once; He cannot die again. But through the consecration, Jesus is shown forth to us in the state of victimhood. In the words of the late Pope Pius XII, “The Eucharistic Sacrifice is the un-bloody immolation of the divine victim, which is made manifest in a sacramental manner by the separation of the sacred species and by their offering to the Father.” 

Christ is present, then, in the Eucharist not as we are to one another: sometimes loving, sometimes not; sometimes interested, sometimes indifferent. Rather, He is present precisely in the highest expression of His identity as the loving Son of God the Father, who offered Himself for our sake in sacrifice. Christ is present in the reality of His death and resurrection. Every moment of Jesus Christ’s life was lived as God’s loving Son and our Savior. But in His death and resurrection this beautiful life bursts forth in a brilliant expression of devotion and concern. This expression, through the power of the Eucharist, does not end but remains without fading, freed from the limits of time and space.

ptg01200187 - KOMUNI KUDUSJesus is present in the Mass in the one, unique act of dying and rising as the exalted victim of sacrifice. He is present in His body, given up for us. He is present in His blood, shed for us. Under the sign of spiritual nourishment, He is the source and pledge of our resurrection from the dead. To put it another way, Jesus comes among us not in a static fashion, as in a person asleep in his bed. Rather, He is present dynamically in the great event of His dying as the victim of sacrifice and in His rising to glory.

The wonder of the Mass is that, even though we live many, many centuries after the sacrifice of Christ, we share in His offering of Himself in perfect love to the Father. With Mary, we too in a certain sense stand at the foot of the cross. This truth is proclaimed in all of the Eucharistic Prayers following the consecration. Notice particularly the words of the Third Eucharistic Prayer: “Father, calling to mind the death Your Son endured for our salvation, His glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet Him when He comes again, we offer You in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.” The Mass is our expression with Christ of complete love for God the Father. And, the Father responds in love by giving us in Communion His Son. The gift is God’s sign of His magnificent love for us.

To sum up, Jesus is present on our altar so that through Him, with Him, and in Him we may give all glory and honor to the Father in union with the Holy Spirit. He is still our great high priest, our mediator with the Father. The Eucharist is the sacramental reality of His death and resurrection, our offering to the Father, and Father’s pledge that we are His children who will share His life forever as His resurrected sons and daughters. How right it is that we celebrate this feast of the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, we worship You living among us in the sacrament of Your body and blood. May we offer to our heavenly Father a solemn pledge of undivided love. May we offer to our sisters and brothers a life poured out in loving service of that Kingdom where You live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 5 June 2015 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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CORPUS CHRISTI OR THE BODY OF CHRIST

CORPUS CHRISTI OR THE BODY OF CHRIST

(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST – Sunday, 22 June 2014)

Gospel Reading: John 6:51-58

First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16; Psalms: Psalm 147:12-15,19-20, Second Reading: 1Corinthians 10:16-17

5 ROTI DAN 2 IKANThe Scripture Text
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” (John 6:51-58 RSV)

One of the most pleasant and natural reasons for families and friends to gather together is to share a meal. This has been a universal custom since the beginning of history.

The ancient Hebrews, with their profound familial and religious practices, found many occasions to assemble around their sacred banquet tables. A very significant meal was the one to celebrate the Passover, which commemorated their deliverance from slavery.

Jesus and His apostles, faithful to their Jewish heritage, also observed the Passover each year. It was in conjunction with the Passover festival that Jesus initiated another sacred meal, the Last Supper. “Do this in memory of me” are solemn words which Christians have always observed, honoring and fulfilling the command of the Savior, given the night before He died. When we assemble at Mass, we celebrate and perpetuate this directive of Jesus, spoken at the original Holy Thursday meal.

5 LOAVES & 2 FISHThe feast of Corpus Christi, observed today, calls our attention to the dignity of the Last Supper and the precious heritage of the Lord’s presence in our midst when we gather in faith around His table. It is the body of the risen Lord which we receive, and we are humbly reminded of His eternal love for each of us. His power, wisdom and friendship come to us in the reception of the Bread of Life.

The Holy Eucharist helps the faithful to remember the good times of the past, but is much more than that. It is the real presence of the Risen Lord abiding with His people in His glorified body. It’s His unique way to be with us always.

1. Corpus Christi evokes memories from the Upper Room, the multiplication of the loaves, the manna in the desert and more. It’s a memorial of the past.
2. Corpus Christi speaks to the present. Jesus said, “I am the living bread.” That is, right now, today. Through my reception of the Living Bread, I am being strengthened this very moment.
3. Corpus Christi carries a future promise, an everlasting pledge: “Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.”

Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, I give my life to You by receiving Your precious body and blood in the depths of my heart. I give You the freedom to have Your way in every area of my life. Thank You for loving me and wanting to live within me. Amen.

Jakarta, 20 June, 2014

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE AND BREAD

LUKE AND BREAD

 (A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST –  Sunday, 2nd of June 2013) 

First Reading: Gen 14:18-20; Psalms: Ps 110:1-4, Second Reading: 1Cor 11:23-26; Gospel Reading: Luke 9:11-17 

LIMA ROTI DAN DUA IKANThe story of how Jesus fed the multitude, as told by Luke, prefigures the ministry of the apostles in the Christian community. The actions of Jesus in taking, blessing, breaking and distributing the food would become the Eucharistic actions. The work of the apostles was foreshadowed when Jesus told them, “Give them something to eat yourselves.”

Bread is surely the most relevant symbol of hope for a world in which half the population suffer from shortage of food. Little wonder that Jesus should choose bread as the memorial sign of His presence and care in the world.

Although in our western society doctors more often ask patients to cut back on their intake of food and drink, Luke, the physician, is fascinated by food.
Every chapter of his gospel has mention of food and eating. It has been remarked that Luke presents Jesus either going to a table, at a table, or coming from a table. Robert J. Karris, in his book, Luke: Artist and Theologian, (Paulist Press), has a fascinating chapter on the theme of food.

The conception of Jesus in celebrated in the canticle of Mary as God filling the starving with good things. Then Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means the house of bread. His first cot was a feeding trough borrowed from animals.

FIVE THOUSAND FEDBefore commencing His public ministry He fasted for forty days. In fasting, He manifested His solidarity with the hungry of the world. He relied absolutely on the providence of the Father rather turn stones into bread. He responded to the tempter’s first attack that man does not live on bread alone. Thus He recognized the value of fasting in giving priority to the leading of the Spirit over the demands of the flesh. Later, however, Jesus was very critical of those who abused fasting as a way of winning the esteem of others.

There were meals of celebration, as in the house of Levi, and at the return of the prodigal son. And there were meals to relax with friends, as with Martha and Mary. There are several references to meals on the Sabbath, the day of rest.

Jesus was the guest who brought to the table more than He received. At various tables He brought pardon to the sinful woman, friendship to Zacchaeus and faith to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Much of His teaching was imparted at meals. There He drew attention to the foolish pride of those who vied for the places of honor at table. He taught that our tables should be anticipations of the final messianic banquet with special consideration being given to the beloved poor of God. Lazarus, the beggar at the gate, is the personification of God’s beloved poor.

Jesus told a story about God as the master who dons the apron to serve the faithful servant. And at the last supper Jesus moved among the apostles as one who serves.

The behavior of Jesus at table so challenged the accepted pious traditions that He drew condemnation upon His head. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. There was a loud complaint that He “welcomes sinners and cats with them.” Karris comes to the provocative conclusion that Jesus got Himself crucified by the way He ate.

5 ROTI DAN 2 IKAN - 01When He taught His followers a prayer which would express their Christian identity, the petition for today’s needs is a request for bread. And Jesus arranged that the celebration of His memory would be in a meal: “Do this in memory of Me.” The risen Lord was recognized by two disciples at the breaking of bread. And would you believe what He asked of the dumbfounded apostles when He appeared to them in the Upper Room: “Have you anything here to eat?”

This theme of food continues into the Acts of the Apostles. The breaking of bread was one of the cornerstones of the early community. And when Peter was establishing his credentials as a witness his claim was: “We have eaten and drunk with Him after His resurrection from the dead.” (Acts 10:41).

The day when Jesus fed the multitude in the lonely place was lide a summary of His mission. He welcomed the crowds … even though they were wrecking His plans for a day of retreat with the apostles. He talked to them about the Kingdom of God. He brought healing to those who needed it. And He fed them in their hunger.

Bread is a symbol of the outreach of God to His children in welcome, enlightenment, healing and sustaining. 

Note: Taken from Fr. Silvester O’Flynn OFMCap., THE GOOD NEWS OF LUKE’S YEAR, Dublin, Ireland: Cathedral Books/The Columbia Press, Revised Edition, 1991 (1994 reprinting), pages 111-113.

Jakarta, 2nd of June 2013

 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS STILL HAS THE POWER

THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS STILL HAS THE POWER

(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST –  Sunday, 2nd of June 2013) 

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:11-17 

First Reading: Gen 14:18-20; Psalms: Ps 110:1-4, Second Reading: 1Cor 11:23-26 

MUKJIZAT - PERLIPATGANDAAN ROTI DAN IKANThe Scripture Text

When the crowds learned it, they followed Him; and He welcomed them and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away; and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And He said to His disciples, “make them sit down in companies, about fifty each.” And they did so, and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fist he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Lk 9:11-17 RSV) 

Corpus Christi Sunday is a day when we celebrate Jesus’ goodness in feeding us through the Eucharist. In recounting the feeding of the 5,000 (at least), Luke tells how Jesus had intended to withdraw with His apostles for rest, but instead welcomed the throng that crowded around Him. Like a gentle shepherd, He tended to the sick, taught them about the Kingdom, and miraculously provided them with food. He ministered to them until everyone was satisfied (Lk 9:17).

As he wrote to the troubled church in Corinth, Saint Paul explained that Jesus is still able to care for his people: “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1Cor 11:26). Every time we read the scriptures, we can be refreshed. Every time we pray, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ sacrifice – which we recall at every Mass – still has the power to wash away our sins and fill us with divine life.

ROTI DAN ANGGUR - 003The bread and wine transformed into Jesus’ body and blood can truly sustain us as we approach His altar with humble hearts. At the same time, whenever we eat and drink, we also look for the day when Jesus will come again. Then, He Himself will feed us directly, no longer through word and sacrament. “… He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4).

In the Holy Mass, let us eat and drink of Jesus with grateful hearts. It is HE who feeds us. It is HE who can meet all our physical and spiritual needs. Let us look for the day when Jesus will be with us. As Christians, all of our hope is centered on it.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in Your words, we find truth. In Your wounds, we find life. In Your precious blood, we find the power to draw near to You. In Your death, we find life. In Your resurrection, we find hope for eternal life. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Jakarta, 31st of May 2013 

 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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