The Body and Blood of Christ
The Body and Blood of Christ There have been so many books, motion pictures, TV shows, and you name it – telling us what LOVE is… And in the end, it could mean just about anything you would like to make it. But I think a little story of my days in Nigeria will tell you what I think LOVE really is all about.
Charlie was a good friend of mine. I married him and his wife. I hadn’t seen Charlie for quite awhile – as he had moved to another parish in the city. Then one day I saw him coming down the road on his bicycle. That surprised me quite a bit.
Charlie – “I am surprised to see you on your old bike. You had told me you were going to buy a motor cycle. What happened?”
Charlie said: Yes, that was my intention…in fact I even put in an order for a new Yamaha. But…you know. My wife, she wanted a sewing machine for a long time.
I said: so you gave up the motor bike to buy the sewing machine for Her?
Charlie said: Yes. I love her very much you know, and I would be ready to sacrifice anything to make her happy. She is so good to me and the children. She wouldn’t have said a thing if I had gotten the bike, but I know she would have felt bad. I sacrificed my motor bike so that she might get the machine. You should see her now, she is so happy with the new sewing machine.
Did you catch the words Charlie used: I LOVE her very much. I SACRIFICED my machine so that she could get hers. A sacrifice is something done out of love – to please somebody. There could be many reasons to sacrifice for another person, but simply put, it comes down to I WANT TO PLEASE THE PERSON, AND FOR THAT I AM READY TO GIVE UP SOMETHING OF MY OWN.
Last Sunday I mentioned that we have been trying….since the beginning of time…to know something about God. Mankind has kept looking for ways of getting in touch with God. Well, way back then is when mankind started offering sacrifices to God – to show our LOVE for our God.
What did they sacrifice? Usually it was something important to the person: maybe an animal out of their flock, or the first fruits of the harvest season. Whatever it was, it was always something precious to the person. They were looking for a response from God that would favor them. The offering represented themselves – trying to be united with their God.
We are now in the New Testament. Jesus, representing all of mankind – offers his Father himself, in sacrifice…that most pleasing sacrifice that could be offered to God. In return, God gave us himself in his own Body and Blood – in the sacrifice of the Mass. When we receive the Body and Blood of the Lord, we are then in Communion with our God. The Eucharist is the way of being in communion with our God.
I think the final word on this relationship with God is: what do we give Him in return? Like the Jews of old: their sacrifices were their way of sealing the contract – the covenant – with God. I will be your God! – And the Jews promised to be God’s people.
This week we need to look at our own lives, and ask: am I really God’s people…or do I hold back on my side of the friendship? Love requires a sacrifice on the part of both God and us. God has shown his wonderful love for each one of us, by giving us Himself in the Eucharist. Do we return that love for Him by keeping his commandments, and following His teachings? It is a question that I think each of us needs to ask, and answer today.
We thank Jesus for giving us Himself in the Eucharist. Do not let a Mass go by that you do not receive Him in the Eucharist…joining your life, with His Graces as an honor to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.