All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.Ex 24:7
In today’s first reading (Ex 24:3-8), this exclamation of the Chosen People, just released from bondage and miraculously saved from the Egyptians, coming immeidately after Moses received the Ten Commandments and a host of other laws from God, are words to live by, no? Unfortunately, we generally find it as difficult as the Israelites did to keep this promise, sincere as it may be. for any length of time (by chapter 32 we already have the infamous Golden Calf episode). And like them (as we hear of repeatedly in the Old Testament), just as they were prone to repeat over and over their waywardness, so are we.
But if we are to legitimately attempt to “heed and do” the Lord’s will, we must come to know it. How? Through the reading of Scripture, the knowledge of Tradition, and the sure teaching of the Church that safeguards two fonts of revelation “flowing from the same divine wellspring” (Dei verbum, 9). Praying to the Holy Spirit, that same Spirit that inspired the sacred authors, and that the Church has a guarantee of, is indispensable in this task.
Now, back to the text. Notice how the covenant is sealed with blood. The Church does not pick these readings willy-nilly. She, in her wisdom, makes obvious to us the vital connection between the Mosaic covenant and the New Covenant. Did a real sacrifice with real blood happen at the base of Mt. Sinai? Yes. Did a real sacrifice with real blood happen in the Upper Room? Yes. There are many defenses of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as to what Jesus intended and effected at the Last Supper; this typological one is just another on a long list.
How shall I make a return to the LORDPs 116:12-13
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
The psalmist (116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18) also prefigures the Eucharist. Our salvation comes through the Blood of Christ. We “make a return to the Lord” by participating at Mass as often as possible; Sundays, to be sure, as is our obligation, but also frequently throughout the week, as we are able. God doesn’t need us but He gives Himself to us entirely. We need God entirely since we can do nothing good on our own. And, in justice, we owe God praise and worship for who He is in the way that He designates through His Church. Why would anyone miss the opportunity? What could be more important?
[Jesus] said to them,Mk 14:24
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.”
All previous history led to this point and all subsequent history flows from this point. The Paschal Mystery, the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, anticipated in the Eucharist, is actually made manifest at this Passover meal before these events happened in time. Thus, it was a timeless event that saved many who died before this moment and it is the only possibility for salvation for every person who has since lived or will ever live until the end of time. It is, at best, disappointing that so few Catholics, and even more so, Christians in general, do not appreciate this great gift that Jesus gave us at the cost of His own life.
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”CCC 1324
Pretty important? Much more than that. Vital, rather; that is, “‘of or manifesting life,’ from Latin vitalis ‘of or belonging to life,’ from vita ‘life,’ related to vivere ‘to live.'” (from Online Etymology Dictionary). “‘In [God] we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Jesus tells us as much elsewhere:
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.Jn 6:53-54
Quite an invitation. Yet so many turn it down. Let us not be in that number; rather, let us be exemplars, drawing other in by our actions, inviting others in with our words.
MORE CORPUS CHRISTI
Late last year, I hunted down a book called The Fathers on the Sunday Gospels edited by Stephen Mark Holmes. It is the only book I have found that provides sermons from the Fathers of the Church in book form that follows the current lectionary of readings. I have been reading along since around Christmas. This section, under Corpus Christi, from a homily of St. John Chrysostom particularly struck me:
I do not mean that we should not approach [the Sacrament of the Eucharist], but simply that we should not do so thoughtlessly. Just as coming to it in a casual way is perilous, so failing to share in this sacramental meal is hunger and death. This food strengthens us; it emboldens us to speak freely to our God; in it is our hope, our salvation, our light, and our life. If we go to the next world fortified by this sacrifice, we shall enter its sacred portals with perfect confidence, as though protected all over by armour of gold.p. 177
May we ever draw closer to appreciating, as St. John did, the power and necessity of Holy Communion.
Another brilliant sermon from Bp. Barron: The Lifeblood of God
A fine video from Dr. Edward Sri on the history of this great solemnity: Celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi
A wonderful resource for all things Eucharist: Fr. Hardon Archives
As always, turn to Catholic Answers to defend the faith, in this case the Eucharist
VIRTUAL PERPETUAL ADORATION
My favorite site to do Eucharistic Adoration virtually (obviously, going to a church or chapel is preferred, but this is a nice option when that is not possible): EWTN Polska
All of this can only help us appreciate all the more the very real and important controversy around politicians receiving the Eucharist unworthily. But more on that another time.