Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ 

PREPARING FOR THE WORD
Before you begin take a moment to pray, saying this short prayer by St. John Chrysostom or a prayer in your own words asking the Lord to open up your heart and mind to his Word.       
        O Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Your word and understand and do Your will.


READING THE WORD 
Lectio or reading is the first step of lectio divina. You are invited to begin by slowly and attentively reading aloud the gospel of the day by yourself or others.

Gospel                                                               John 6:51-58 Lectionary: 167

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day. 
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him. 
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. 
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."

For all of the readings for Sunday visit: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061817.cfm


REFLECTING ON THE WORD

It has been a decade since the martyrdom of Fr.Ragheed Ganni the week before the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.  This was my reflection on the Eucharist for that feast day in 2007 in the light of his courageous and faithful witness. 
                              Deacon Charles Rohrbacher

All week I have been meditating on this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ in the light of the death last Sunday of Fr. Ragheed Aziz Ganni in Mosul, Iraq. He was a 35-year old Iraqi Chaldean Catholic priest who was stopped by unknown gunmen when leaving Mass last Sunday and shot to death with the three subdeacons who were accompanying him.  

In the weeks before his death, Fr.Ragheed spoke of, “the great value of Sunday, the day that we meet the Risen Lord, the day of unity 
and of love between His community, the day of of support and help”.  

He was quoted as saying, “Without Sunday, without the Eucharist the Christians in Iraq cannot survive”. 

On this solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, his witness unto death, his martyrdom, calls us to remember that we are the Body of Christ and that without Sunday, without the eucharist, we cannot survive as Christians.

We remember today as Christ’s Body that we cannot survive without Sunday because Sunday is the Lord’s Day, the day we meet Christ, 
risen from the dead, the day we remember that love is more powerful than hatred, the day that we remember that the mercy and peace of Christ has overcome the mercilessness and violence of this world the day we remember that in Christ’s resurrection life has conquered death.  

We remember today as Christ’s Body the priest Melchizedek who offered bread and wine in thanksgiving for Abram’s deliverance from his enemies.   

We remember each Sunday that we cannot survive as Christ’s Body unless we gather as God’s people to thank and praise him for our deliverance from the Enemy who enslaved us in the power of sin and death and for our new life in Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.

We cannot survive as the Body of Christ without the eucharist because each time we receive the gift of his Body and Blood we remember how to give as Jesus gave.

St. Paul hands on to every generation of believers the tradition that he received from the Lord. On the night before Jesus was betrayed and put to death, the Lord gave his disciples the bread which was his body broken for them, and the cup of wine, his blood poured out for them, saying“Do this in remembrance of me”.

He showed them the meaning of his life. He showed them how to live as one who gives himself totally giving his body and blood, given for others, to the Father, to the brothers and sisters to the poor and needy, even to the enemy.

We cannot survive without the eucharist because the eucharist teaches us how to give ourselves completely like Jesus.

It is this self-giving that he commands us to do in remembrance of him, to remember him as one who was consumed for love and in remembering his gift becoming a gift for the life of the world.

We cannot survive as Christians without the eucharist because each time we celebrate the eucharist we see and hear and touch and taste 
what it means to live like Jesus, to be Jesus in this world.

We cannot survive without the eucharist because the eucharist confounds what passes for wisdom in this world:
    that human beings motivated by fear and greed.
    that life is nasty, brutish and short.
    that dead is dead
    that five loaves and two fish 
    can’t feed five thousand people.

We can’t survive without the eucharist because nothing is impossible for our God. His death is life for us and for the world. Our daily death to self-love is communion with Jesus and with each other.

We cannot survive as Christians without the eucharist because we are his Body and Blood, we are the food that the Lord gives this world
which hungers and thirsts for joy, for fellowship, for community, for unity, for reconciliation, for love, for hope and for peace.

This world cannot survive without Christians who are the Lord’s Body and Blood broken and poured out for the life of the world. “Christians”, St.Augustine said, “be what you receive.”

Brothers and sisters, on this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, let us say Amen to the bread of life and the cup of salvation let us be nourishment for all those who hunger for God’s truth and justice let us be refreshment for all those who thirst for God’s mercy and forgiveness.  

May we be his living Body and Blood. May all eat and drink and be satisfied.


PONDERING THE WORD

Imeditatio, traditionally, the second stage of lectio divina, we are invited to ponder, as Mary did, “all these things in her heart” as we listen for Jesus, the Incarnate Word to speak to us heart-to-heart. You may find the following questions helpful in doing this. 

1. How is Jesus inviting me to grow closer to him in contemplating the mystery of his body and blood?

2. In what ways is Jesus calling me to follow him at this moment in my life?

3. How would you complete the sentence, we can't survive without the Eucharist because...?

4. What does it mean to you to be nourished by the body and blood of Christ?

5. What does it mean to you to be a member of the body and blood of Christ? 


PRAYING THE WORD

In oratio, the third stage of the practice of lectio divina, pondering the Word of God naturally leads to prayer.  Having opened your heart to his Word, take a few moments to speak to Jesus heart-to-heart.


CLOSING PRAYER

You may wish to conclude your time of prayer using the Collect from this Sunday’s Mass below or the Lord’s Prayer:

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever.