Solemnity of the Body & Blood of the Lord – Year B
June 7, 2015
BUILD ME UP, FILL ME UP!
We all know how the people of Israel were at some point
wandering aimlessly in the desert. After being led out of slavery in Egypt, and
after the initial euphoria at being liberated wore down, they felt empty. They
felt like vagabonds – journeyers without a sure destination. If I were in their
shoes, I would probably be reminded of that old song that says: “Why do you
build me up, Buttercup baby, just to let me down, and mess me around?”
But today’s readings dispel our worst fears about being left
alone to fend for ourselves. Let me tell you why…
For one, the Lord, through Moses, led them to a clear sign
of God’s fidelity to His promises. He called and engaged them in a covenant,
which is basically, a mutual agreement. That agreement was sealed in the most
visible, most powerful symbol that lent credibility to what was agreed upon –
the blood of animals offered in sacrifice! Half of it was spilled on the altar,
and the other half sprinkled on the people. What was the agreement about? God,
and no other, was to be their God; and they, in turn, will be treated as God’s
very own people! “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with
you in accordance with all these words of his.” (1st Reading).
God, definitely, does not build us up only to let us down.
He does not come to deliver from slavery only to hand us over to another form
of slavery. God saves, and when He does, it is forever. For life. For all time.
Yes, that blood shed on the altar and sprinkled on the
people did have a counterpart much later – in Christ, the High Priest, who,
like the lamb led to the slaughter as sacrifice for all time, shed his blood
for our sakes. “For this reason he is Mediator of a new covenant.”
That new covenant, much like the old covenant between God
and Moses and people, was sealed by no less than Christ’s blood.
It was in plain language, a case of Christ letting himself
down so as to build us up, and he was no silly Buttercup figure who couldn’t
care less about whether we are up or down.
Today is the feast of that covenant and the ultimate sign
and seal of our being built up for eternal life, and being raised forever from
the mess of sin, and its wages, which is death.
The Lord does not mince words. The Lord goes straight to the
point. He uses no mere symbolic words, and refers to mere figures of speech.
Taking the bread, he says: “Take it; this is my body.” Taking the cup, he
further says: “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”
This is the prayer I would like to share with youtoday, feast of Christ’s saving and sacred
Body and Blood …
“Fill us, Lord. Build us up, Lord. May the reception of your
Body and Blood lift us up to the heights of union with you, the Father, and the
Holy Spirit. Having left us a memorial of your Passion, help us experience in
ourselves the fruits of your redemption. For you are the living Bread come down
from heaven. You came to build us up, lift us up, and to fill us up with life
like yours … eternal, full, never-ending, never fading. Only in you do we find
the promise of all promises … that whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup
will live forever.”
I am a pilgrim. I am a learner. I journey with others in faith and life. In all I do, in my preaching, teaching, counseling, and writing, "all I want is to know Christ, and to experience the power of his resurrection" (Phil 3:10). By so doing, I humbly hope to make a difference in people's lives.