THE MERITS OF THE EUCHARIST
Meditation for Corpus Christi, Year B
(Ex 24:3-8; Heb 9:11-15; Mk 14:12-26,22-26)
After Moses explained the laws and ordinances of the Lord to the people, they professed their faith saying, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do.” He built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with a symbolic representation of all the twelve tribes of Israel. On this altar they offered peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. Moses did the blood of sacrifice into two, and poured one half on the altar. Once more the people professed their faith and agreed to the terms of the covenant. Then, Moses threw the other half of the blood on the people, saying, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
This covenant relationship prepared for the new and perfect covenant in Jesus Christ. The second reading identifies Jesus as the High Priest who administers the covenant sacrifice. He offers the eternal sacrifice in the highest heavens, ‘the Holy Place.’ He is the VICTIM, who offers Himself; whose blood brings the perfect sanctification for the purification of our inner self, purifying our conscience from dead works and evil inclinations, and repositioning us to serve the living God. Unlike the sprinkled blood by Moses, the new covenant blood of Jesus Christ touches us from within!
The Gospel of today narrates how Jesus celebrated the first Eucharist within the thanksgiving meal of the Passover feast. “He took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And He took a chalice, 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.” Here the covenant meal is CONSUMED and internalized. Jesus commanded us to offer the Eucharist in memory of Him (I Cor 11:24-25). The sacrifice of Moses was a mere memorial of the past Passover event of Egypt. But Jesus offered His body and blood in anticipation and in view of His Passover offering on the Cross. So, the efficacy of the Eucharist flows directly from the Cross; it is the merits of the sacrifice of the cross that we receive directly Eucharist. But what ‘merit’ is greater than Jesus Christ Himself?
The Eucharist is the EXTRAORDINARY PRESENCE of Jesus Christ. Pause and reflect: what does it mean to remember someone who is present, with his words, gestures and actions? Is it anything less than a pull towards him and an intermingling of our lives with Him, such that His life comes alive in our lives! In the Eucharist we draw life and strength. And our daily actions testifies…With the Eucharist, therefore, the MEMORIAM of Jesus is alive in our words and actions. Amen.