Being one with Christ - Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ 2018

Friends, we celebrate this Sunday the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi.  There is hunger in the heart. The heart longs for companionship and a way of living in fellowship with God as we as the yearning to have the power to deal with pain and sorrow. The Eucharist is the way in which God is in a special way present in our lives. The solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ was instituted at a time when many denied that Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist. It was upon the Lord's request through an Augustinian nun, Blessed Juliana of Liège (1192-1258). Urban IV established the celebration for the entire Church on September 8, 1264 through the Bull Transiturus.

According to the Talmud, the exodus of the Jews from Egypt occurred on a Thursday, Nisan 15th. This means that the 10th of the same month becomes a Sabbath. It was this greater Sabbath (Sabbath HaGadol) that the Lord commanded every Jewish family to select a lamb for sacrifices and take it home. It will be the Passover, Corban Pesach, sacrificed on the 14th Nisan (Exod 12: 3).

Sacrifice has always been an essential part of all religions. In the Old Testament, God commanded the sacrifice of animals. Moses sent the children of Israel to offer burnt offerings and sacrifices of bulls in thanksgiving to the Lord (Exodus 24: 6). Moses sprinkled the altar and the people with the blood. But the value in them is due to the fact that God accepted them as a symbol of the true sacrifice that his only son would make of himself for the whole world.

One of the Egyptian gods was a lamb (God Amun). Therefore, this (Sabbath HaGadol) is called the great Sabbath because God lets the people of Israel take a lamb from the Egyptians, not minding the humiliation of their gud- Amun.

Sabbath HaGadol was a shadow of the sacrifice of God's lamb that takes away the world's sin. The Liberation from Egypt led directly to the covenant on Mount Sinai. Easter customs are a memorial of the night when the believers were saved from death by the blood of the lamb that was a shadow of Jesus' greater sacrifice as the seh HaElohim-God's lamb that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

The Old Covenant was established with the blood of animals, but in the new covenant, it was established and upheld in the person of Jesus Christ, ­­­­ in the blood of Christ (Matthew 26: 26-29). Jesus was crucified on the 14th Nisan, which prophetically corresponds to the time when the Passover lamb was sacrificed in the temple. With the advent of Jesus, the temple was destroyed in 70 AD and rabbinic Judaism took over the leadership of the Jewish people. Temple sacrifice changed to mean prayer and the practice of mitzvot. Christ is now the new temple and in him we become the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Ritual cleansing is only a ritual and remains a gesture of hope. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God gives eternal glory to God. Through the prayer of the Church, the Lord in the Eucharist anticipates his return as he did at the wedding in Cana.

The journey from Egypt to Canaan would not have been possible without God's care and love with which he provided them with food and drink. It is not hard to realize how this was a symbol of the spiritual manna God would give us for our journey towards the eternal home. The Lord Jesus refers to manna given by God to our ancestors in the desert by saying that He wants to give the true bread from heaven (John 6: 31ff) in His Son. Jesus fulfilled the promise the night before his death, when he took bread, broke it and gave to his disciples and said ... this is my body ... (Luke 22:19). In order to reach our homeland, we must walk through the desert of life, a journey in which we need all spiritual food for strength through the obstacles and challenges that our human nature represents for us. In his love, Christ gave us himself as food for this journey so that we can come to our eternal home.

It is no easy task to contemplate or penetrate God's mystery regarding God's self-outpouring, cross and death. What could it mean for our lives, in relation to this day’s celebration? We need to look a little deeper to realize that this solemnity of Christ's body and blood is about God's greatest gift to humanity.

Jesus completes the work Moses began. God's true manna is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world "(John 6:33). "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and whosoever believeth in me shall never thirst "(John 6:35). The Torah is bread from God, but shows us only God's back, it is a shadow (Exodus 33:11; Numbers 34:10; Numbers 33: 18-22). Moses took the covenant and read it to the people. According to the laws of the Old Testament, almost everything is purified with blood, and without the outpouring of, there is no remission of sin (Heb 9:22). "If the blood of cows and bulls sacrificed could make clean in outer sense, how much more must not the blood of Christ cleanse," writes the author of the letter to the Hebrews.

The Last Supper of Jesus begun before the beginning of the Passover feast (John 12: 1-33). Jesus rode into Jerusalem the 10th Nisan. It was time the Korban Pesach - Passover lamb was chosen as the victim. Thereafter, it is inspected for four days before the feast to be sure that it was spotless. Jesus is God's lamb (seh haElohim) without blemish. All the people who judged him confirmed he was not guilty. The law required every family to choose a lamb, four days before the feast. During these four days, the family bonds with the lamb in such a way that it could truly be called their lamb.

To eat and to drink of what the Gentiles sacrificed to their gods was understood as a way of reconciling and communing with the god to which one sacrifices. Similarly, everyone in the sacrifice of the Sacred Mass participates at the same time, but it is only the priest who has the power to pronounce the words of consecration that transforms the material bread and wine into spiritual food of the Body and Blood of Christ. Anyone without impediment, that means those reconciled may eat and drink of the Lord's body and blood.

Webbdesign: Peter Tynkkynen