The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

June 23, 2019 at St. Peter & St. William Churches in Naples, FL

Genesis 14, 18-20 = Psalm 110 + 1 Corinthians 11, 23-26 + Luke 9, 11-17

5:30pm Mass Saturday at Saint Peter Parish

“Do this in remembrance of me.” We shall hear those words again in just about ten minutes, but before we repeat that command, it might be a good idea to think about and reconsider that “this” is. What is it we are commanded to do in memory of Jesus? Some might like to think that “this” refers to consecrating bread and wine and receiving communion. If that is all there is to it, if that’s all Jesus Christ asks us to in his memory, there sure isn’t much to this faith, and there isn’t much to do that would require much faith, take time or ask much of us.

“Do this in remembrance of me” was important enough for Saint Paul that he repeats what Jesus says to the Corinthians today.  He wants them, and anyone who reads his letter to ask the question: “What?” What are we to do? What does God want of us? How are we to remember Jesus Christ so that in doing so, he remains present to us and can continue his mission within and through us. If you think for one minute that grabbing a consecrated host and heading out the door is fulfilling the command of Jesus, you are getting it all wrong, and while you may not want or like to hear this, this feast gives us reason to ask the big question: “What is it we are to do to remember Jesus?”

Both Luke and Paul give us a clue about what we are to do. The clue is the verbs: Take, Bless, Break, Give. That’s it. This is how we remember. This is what he asked us to do: take what we are given, bless it, break it, and give it away. Which is what he did with that crowd and what he did at that supper. We do it in this church so that we might remember what to do outside of this church.

We have all be given many gifts, and in a ritual way they will be taken and someone on your behalf will walk up this aisle with them. They will be taken. Then they will be blessed which simply means we will acknowledge the one has given these gifts. This is what Blessing means. Sometimes you hear in the prayer: “Blessed are you Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received”. Then we break it, not to destroy it, but to complete the actions we do in memory of Jesus, we give it away, and in some ways, we give it back to God as we do with the Body of Christ. Yet, we imitate the one in whose image we are made when we give it to others who then can take, bless, break, and give again and again. Brothers and Sister, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of our faith together, we must continue to remember Jesus as he asked of us. It is nothing to simply do the ritual here if we fail to do the remembering tomorrow and the days after where ever we are. Luke tells us that there were 5,000 waiting for Jesus to take, bless, break, and give. Around us in these times, there are far more waiting alone, waiting hungry, waiting homeless, waiting in refugee camps, waiting for love, forgiveness, understanding, and respect. God speaks to us today in this Gospel giving us a clear command about what we are to do in response to the request of his Son. There is no excuse for a failure to remember  Jesus. All we need to do is look at what he did and do the same. This takes no divine omnipotent power. It simply takes compassion, mercy, generosity, and a desire to remember Jesus not just in consecrated bread and wine, but in the human flesh and blood through which he revealed himself to begin with. So, take, bless, break, and give.

Father Tom Boyer