Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
Two weeks ago we ended the Easter Season with the Solemnity of Pentecost, followed by the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, and today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. These three Solemnities provide us with the lens through which we gaze at Jesus as both human and Divine, the Second person of the Trinity, and as being truly present body and blood, soul and divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The Gospel for this weekend takes us back to the Upper Room and the Last Supper. It begins with the disciples asking Jesus where to celebrate the Passover. His response tells us quite a bit. First he sends two disciples into the city and tells them that they will meet a man who is carrying a water jar.
He goes on to tell us that had a plan and made arrangements. They are to follow the man carrying the water jar and he will take them to the pre-arranged place. A man carrying a water jar was not a normal sight, fetching water was women’s work and a man doing it would no doubt stand out. Jesus’ plan was well thought out so the two disciples would be able to find the man and make the final preparations. Jesus has a well thought out plan for each of us to attain eternal life that involves following his instructions.
Finally the man will lead them to a house that has a “large Upper Room furnished and ready.” It is in this room that Jesus has the Last Supper with his Apostles, and during this Supper he institutes the Eucharist by taking bread and wine and making it his Body and Blood. The Catechism describes the Eucharist as “the source and summit of the Christian Life.” CCC 1324
This is what we celebrate in a special way on this Solemnity. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that is also a wonderful gift to us that nourishes us on our journey from life here to eternal life. Just as Jesus prepared the upper room for His Last Supper, we would do well to prepare ourselves for receiving the Eucharist. Taking the description from this Gospel our souls should be “large, furnished and ready.” Cleaning the clutter of sin and distraction makes room for the presence of Christ to work within us. We need a regular “house cleaning” to make sure that things in our life are in order and that we haven’t pushed the Lord to some corner of our lives. Give the Lord a lot of room to work within us. We furnish the room with prayers, good works, being part of a Catholic Community, and study. These four elements help us to grow in holiness and are the right furnishings into which we receive the Eucharist. Finally, we should be ready. This involves being mindful of who it is we receive in the Eucharist and of preparing ourselves to welcome him. We are ready when we are attentive to his presence and humbly approach him in order to receive him. The Body and Blood of Christ is a gift we can receive almost every day, and because of this we can take the beauty and grandeur for granted. May we grow in mindfulness of the real presence of Christ in this most Blessed Sacrament.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.