In the readings for the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Sunday, June 3, Jesus offers us himself as true food, and a spiritual bond between us and God.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
“This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.”
I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
…the blood of Christ…[will] cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
“This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
There’s a lot of talk about blood in today’s readings! That’s because, from humanity’s earliest days, they knew that life depended on blood. People began to sacrifice animals to try and give some of that gift back to God, and to show our sorrow when we sinned. We don’t sacrifice animals anymore. God told us not to and also made Jesus the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. His blood took away all of our sins and was the perfect gift to God in response to the gift of life that God gives us.
St. Paul tells us in the second reading that Jesus’ sacrifice would “cleanse our consciences from dead works.” That means that Jesus gives us an opportunity to turn away from the things that keep us from living fully, and begin to only do things that bring true life. So, we should remember that God gives us all good things, be grateful for them, and act in ways that show our gratitude.
Today we celebrate the gift of Jesus’ body and blood offered to us in the Eucharist. In fact, “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” So, we recognize the gift of life that God gives us in general, and the gift of spiritual life that Jesus gives us in the Eucharist, and we are thankful.
St. Augustine said that we should “become what we eat.” When we keep the gift of Jesus in our hearts always, we do become Jesus’ presence to other people. After the Last Supper, as we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus and the Apostles went to the Mount of Olives where Jesus would get arrested. Like the Apostles, we’re supposed to go out into all of the difficult situations in the world, taking Jesus with us.
Have you received your first Communion yet? If you did, how does receiving Jesus make you feel? If you didn’t what are you most looking forward to about it?
Catholics believe that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood (soul and divinity) of Christ. Some of our non-Catholic, Christian friends believe it to be a symbol. How would you explain to your friends what you believe?
How does the Eucharist help you to take Jesus with you into the difficult situations in your life?
Family meals are the foundation for understanding the celebration of the Eucharist in Mass as a parish family. At dinner tonight, talk about what similarities there are between Mass and your family dinners.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”