Ps 116:12-13, 15-18
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
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.
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.
Good News Reflection: The Power of the Eucharist
This Sunday’s readings speak to us of the Eucharist: “the blood of the covenant” and “the cup of salvation”. What does the Eucharist mean to you?
Christ came to earth to serve us as our high priest. Unlike the Jewish priests of the Old Testament, who atoned for the people’s sins with the blood of goats and calves, Jesus absolved our sins with his own blood. He said: “This is my blood of the covenant, shed for many.” This is the new covenant. With it he achieved what no other high priest could do: He obtained for us eternal redemption.
Only the blood of God himself could accomplish this, because no matter how good our intentions are, and no matter how holy a priest might be, we all fall back into sin again and again. Only Jesus, the perfectly holy human whose divinity conquered death, could open the doors to eternal life.
Jesus paid a very high price to atone for our sins. What if we come to Mass with unrepented sins? We know we’ve done wrong, yet our desire to avoid the hard work and humility of changing is larger than our desire to let Jesus transform us. It’s larger than our desire to enjoy all the benefits of the Eucharist.
To receive his body and blood in the Eucharist without letting it atone for our sins is to snub and reject the terrible price that Jesus paid when he died for us. To avoid his presence in the Sacrament of Confession because it makes us feel uncomfortable is highly disrespectful of the suffering that he endured for us.
If we accept the on-going atonement provided for us in the Eucharist without accepting the need to repent of any sin, we are insulting Jesus while denying ourselves an opportunity to let him save us from that sin.
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ have the power to “transubstantiate” us into his likeness. We should always leave Mass different than when we arrived. This is God’s plan! His work as our high priest isn’t yet finished.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What sins have been most difficult for you to overcome? Why? Who or what is replacing Jesus as the god you imitate? What will you do this week to give Jesus the opportunity to save you from these sins?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
How did you learn that the consecrated bread and wine at Mass are truly the real Body and Blood of Christ? What makes you sure of it today? How does this affect your attitude about your sins?
You, Lord, precede me in all my paths. You have preceded me in your Easter to the eternal life. May I find in the Eucharist the nourishment for my faith to stay steady until the final reunion with You. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica