The set of readings for today come up at an interesting time. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ while living in a time during the pandemic in which consuming the Blood of Christ is not safe for us. Yet I am reminded that there are many people around the world who are not able to consume the Blood regardless of being in a pandemic or not. Therefore, celebrating this beautiful Solemnity has made me question what it means to consume the real presence of Christ present within the Body and Blood.
In the second reading, Paul names Christ as “mediator of a new covenant.” Christ offers Himself to us within the Eucharist as a physical sign of relationship, the constant sacrament of God’s desire to be united with us. This interpretation of the covenant that Christ brings, is rooted in intimate union with humanity. No longer is God the distant figure desiring relationship but Christ invites us to recognize God’s closeness to us. The Eucharist is the new covenant of celebrating that proximity and relationship with God who resides within the Eucharist and within the community that gathers to celebrate – indeed, God is present to us in each other. I find it beautiful that as Christ celebrates the Eucharist in community, we become connected to God and to one another – I see this beautifully marked in the Gospel, as Jesus celebrates this connection through the intimacy of sharing a song with the disciples at table.
It is an image of intimacy that causes me to reflect on whether not sharing one part of the Eucharist affects our relationship with God and with each other, or if there is an effect at all when we do not consume the Blood of Christ. While Christ is fully present within both species of the Body and the Blood, I feel that we often tend to get lost on monopolizing or objectifying the Eucharist when we only consider the species of the bread, the Body of Christ. However, the importance of the Eucharist lies in its celebration, which involves both God and the people. The community makes the Eucharist important as a sign of our connectedness through our participation in the sacrament, which forms us into the Body of Christ, sacrament of God’s love in the world. Even if we cannot directly consume both species, we are nonetheless bound together to God and to each other which is to be celebrated. I hope that as we continue to persevere through the pandemic, we can be comforted in our connection to God and to one another. On this Solemnity, let us consider: How are we invited to make the Eucharist a celebration? How do we experience God’s desire to be in relationship through our encounters with one another?
~ Tayz Hernandez, B.A. in Theology and Psychology, Class of 2021