Psalms 110: 1,2,3,4.
First Corinthians 11:23-26
Today’s readings are thematically similar to those of Holy Thursday when the Christian community celebrates the solemnity of the “Lord’s Supper.” Cast, as it is, within the great triduum, and in anticipation of the events of Good Friday, most do not have the disposition to truly, fully and joyfully celebrate the great gift of the body and blood of Christ; the great gift of the holy Eucharist; the great gift which is at the heart of Catholic worship.
These are readings of love and sharing because the events described in them – both Old and New Testament readings – are about love and sharing.
God so loves us, He made us; God sent His son in the person of Jesus to walk among us, God is present in the church and God nourishes us in the sacraments. All are acts of parental love.
When praying about God’s immeasurable love for us, I am always drawn to St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and to “the contemplation to attain the love of God.” Specifically to this reflection:
in the elements, giving them existence;
in the plants, giving them life;
in the animals, giving them sensation;
in human beings, giving them intelligence; and finally,
how in this way you dwell also in myself,
giving me existence, life, sensation, and intelligence;
and even further, making me your temple,
since I am created as a likeness and image
of your Divine Majesty.
When you realize how extraordinary is the divine love manifested in creation, one is overwhelmed in seeing the personal love God has for each of us; a love tangible in the person of Jesus as our personal savior and Lord of history. Our salvation was won by the shredding of His body and the shedding of His blood. There is no greater love.
Love is also about sharing. The important events of life – birth, graduation, marriage and special holidays – are celebrated by giving gifts. A gift represents the giver. Often by accepting the gift, we accept the giver.
In the Genesis reading, Melchizedek brought out bread and wine to sacrifice and Abram blessed him and gifted him and shared with him a tenth of his possessions. In the Gospel, Jesus shared the bread and fish with the multitude, just as the disciples shared their scant provisions with Jesus.
Moreover, as seen in the reading from Corinthians, Jesus shared the greatest gift of all – himself – with his disciples on the night he was betrayed. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” There is no greater gift, no greater example of sharing, then in our partaking of the body and blood of Jesus, the Christ. To accept the gift is to accept the giver. How gifted we are!
By John Schlegel