06.03.18 – Corpus Christi

Welcome Back to Banquet of the Word!

Join us every week for background on this Sunday’s readings.

Our mission is simple:
We want to help everyone in “pew-land” get more out of mass.

This weekend is a beautiful feast day – the Body and Blood of Christ. Today we celebrate the very source and summit of our faith lives, the Eucharist.

Image result for eucharist

Today’s theme: COVENANT

God made a covenant with the Old Testament people. A covenant is like a marriage vow. It is permanent and forever. Just as a husband woos his bride, God, in a sense, “wooed” his people – his “bride” Israel. He showed them his mighty arm as he saved them from Egypt, split the sea, and sent manna as food and water from the rock. The covenant – the wedding vow between God and his people – was the 10 commandments.

All these things, however, are incomplete and temporary. They gave the Israelites a glimpse of what was to come in the NEW covenant, the one Jesus established on the cross. The one we participate in when we approach the Banquet of the Eucharist at every mass.

Reading 1EX 24:3-8
(The 1st Reading is Old Testament. It always links to the Gospel.)

In this reading, Moses speaks to the Israelites. God has rescued them from the hands of the Egyptians. He tells them God will never leave them, and then he sprinkles them with the blood of young bulls. Animal sacrifice was a huge part of the Old Testmanent. But why did God ask this of his people? This is an important point. Largely, God wanted His people to show with ACTIONS that they loved God more than anything else, even food, even sustenance, their very lives.

“When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD,
they all answered with one voice,
“We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites
to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
(The Psalm is a “response” to what we heard in the 1st Reading)
I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

How shall I make a return to the LORD
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.

Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.

Reading 2
HEB 9:11-15

(The 2nd reading is usually from Paul’s letters. Speaks to how the early church was built after Christ’s death and resurrection)

 

In this reading, we see very clearly the transition from Old Testament to New Testament. Especially with this phrase: “not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood.” We are part of the New Covenant. Whenever we partake of the Eucharist? We experience this holy and unblemished sacrifice, the promise God made to us long ago. We are united with Him and we are cleansed.

“Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came as high priest
of the good things that have come to be,
passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary,
not with the blood of goats and calves
but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls
and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes
can sanctify those who are defiled
so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works
to worship the living God.

For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place for deliverance
from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.”

 

Gospel
MK 14:12-16, 22-26

(The Gospel is the highest point of the Liturgy of the Word. That’s why we stand.
We are about to hear from and be instructed by Christ Himself.)

Today’s gospel is right before Jesus goes to eat his final Passover with his disciples. We see the literal “Passing Over” from the Old Testament and its rules and rituals, to the New Testament, which fulfills the Old. We can remember today that Jesus gave us himself fully to us. Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
We have never known a love like this, nor will we ever on Earth. And yet it can be so hard to feel at times, to understand. But this is what faith truly is. The belief in something – in someone greater – than what we have on Earth. We are called today to renewed belief and faith in the Eucharist. When the priest raises the body up and the bells ring three times? Try saying to yourself “I believe, I believe, I believe.” Or “I see you. I trust you. I love you.” Some mnemonic to help you mark that special moment at mass. It is good practice and can “wake” us up to be more present during the most important moment at mass.
And may we never waver in our belief in the Eucharist!
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
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Author: Cindy Skalicky

Background: While enrolled in coursework at the Denver Catholic Biblical School (CBS), I developed a passion for scripture. Prior to CBS, I knew so little about the bible. I was in a complete "fog", unable to see what I heard at mass or make any connections (even though I have been a lector for 20 years). The climax of every Mass is the banquet of the Eucharist. But before that, we attend the banquet of the Word - a "4-course meal" that includes the 1st Reading, Responsorial Psalm, 2nd Reading, and Gospel. At this "Banquet of the Word", we encounter Christ through His Word before we meet Him at the Eucharistic table. Increasing my knowledge of scripture has brought me out of the fog and into the light. I invite you to visit weekly. If you have limited scriptural knowledge, Be Not Afraid. Scripture is God's voice; in It, He speaks to you personally. Believe me, I know from experience how intimidating the Bible can be - in its length, the numerous styles in which it's written, and the messages therein. This is why I find it works well to explore scripture through the Sunday readings, which cover Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, the Pastoral Letters, and the Gospels. Join me on this journey, one week at a time.

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