Year B, Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ)


June 25, 2000


Ronald D. Curley

Text: The Holy Gospel According to Saint Mark 14:12-16; 22-26

There are such connections in Holy Scripture.

The Old Testament, the covenants on God with Israel, shows the Holy Spirit point all of us to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It was Mary who first showed us in her Magnificat the joyous news of Salvation come down to mankind through our Mother. She quotes for us scriptures from the Old Testament that point to the coming Messiah, the Savior, the Seed in whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

It is the feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Bread of Life calls for the celebration of the Exodus event, the Passover event that delivered the little nation of Israel, the Hebrew people of God, from the bondage of their Egyptian taskmasters.

They ate unleavened bread, a symbol of the haste they made when God delivered them, a symbol of a holy people of God, a people called to be without the leaven of sin in their lives, a people called to be holy, for the Lord their God is Holy.

Now, their annual feast day proclaimed this.

12 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?"

It is not that Jesus was unaware of the place where they would partake of the pasach, the paschal lamb... there was Preparation...


13 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,

14 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?'

We do not wish to push this interpretation too far, but, would only suggest that there is meaning here in this event. A sign of a man with a pitcher of water - follow him...

We recall the pitchers of water at the wedding at Cana of Galilee at another feast where there were a bride and a groom and many people gathered for a great feast on a festive occasion. There water was turned to wine, the best wine for the guests.

Mary requested this of her Son, Jesus... Woman, my time has not come.

Now, apparently, the fullness of time had come and the two were sent, doing as Jesus had commanded him, and they followed a man with a pitcher of water who entered a house.

We are not sure if this had been pre-arranged by Jesus, but, surely, there had been great preparation by God the Holy Trinity for these events that would follow.

Here in this upper room, the wine and bread would become the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ... the true Paschal Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

Thanks be to God alone.

15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us."

16 And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

Mary said, "Do whatever he tells you."

There are many who do not do as he tells... there is little preparation of heart through the Holy Scriptures and the obedience of faith. The Magnificat of Mary is not written on hearts of faith... there is little understanding of the Preparation that God made on our behalf... and all that we see today was shown ahead of time for the benefit of those who would come in the wake of the great cloud of witnesses who went before us...

The Church has spoken the truth and witnessed the Truth, the Way, the Life... the Body and the Blood of Jesus, our Savior!

22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."

23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

24 And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

We must admit that this statement passed by our little mind for many years... but, in the fullness of time, it set itself into our mind like a finely etched carving, a work of art, carved with the hands of Mary for us to see Jesus more clearly.

The Body and the Blood proceeded from the Flesh and Blood of Mary.

It was Mary who was chosen, the chosen vessel of God of all the people of Israel... to bring forth him would be our Unleavened Bread.

As we speak in this homiletic reflection-in our kitchen here at the Community of Saint Anthony of Padua, there is baking, finely kneaded and processed, bread made from whole wheat... Saint Anthony's Bread... we have just celebrated his feast day on June 13th.

Now, we see Jesus, when we partake of any bread at meals...

How wonderful... what a privilege it is -- to know that the Church and priesthood has been given the authority and privilege to give us the Bread of Life in the Holy Eucharist of the Mass. Yes - "And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave 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.'"

This is a unique privilege - an awesome reality... the Transubstantiated Body nd Blood of Jesus Christ!

Awesome God that he would remain with us... Corpus Christi.

So, he says --

25 "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."

He would take for himself instead the Cup at Gethsemane and would give to us the joy of the song as we anticipate in his coming again in glory.

26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

There, Jesus and we prepared ourselves for the times to come where we would enter the waterless "desert" where there would be no waters... there would be no man with a pitcher to follow into an upper room... but, the re would be the cry from the Cross - "I Thirst..."

There the Body of Christ and Blood of Christ would become our Salvation.

Thanks be to God.

Deus et Sanctissima.