body words

This morning at Mass, the thought struck me as people were going up to Communion, “We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ”. Our faith tells us that this is so, but what does that really mean? Stay with me on this, for I believe that this is critical to our belief in Jesus. I know I would always nod my head in agreement, “…yes that is true. I am part of the Mystical Body”. And then go about my day with about the same enthusiasm as if I had just pronounced a foreign word correctly. I did not really understand what was being said. My words were just … words.

We believe that at the Last Supper, Jesus broke bread and told His apostles, “This is My Body”. In John, 6:54 we read, “Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” What life is Jesus speaking about? I live. You live. We have life. Of what life, is He speaking? Our natural lives are lived just as any animal lives on this earth. But there is something more than just this natural life. We have been given a mind, a spirit, a soul. It is about this life that Jesus speaks; a life that surpasses this worldly, temporal one.

We have been baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. Through that Baptism, we became part of this family of believers. As part of this community of believers, we receive Jesus in Communion at Mass. But what does this belief really mean? If we really believe that Baptism signaled our entrance into this Holy Community, into a oneness with God, then something is different about us. We are saying, “Yes” that Jesus is the Messiah. We are saying, “Yes” that there is a bond between each of us at this Mass. We are saying, “Yes” that Jesus’ words are true…ALL of them.

So now, going back to the words of John, 6:54, we heard that only through eating the Body and Blood of Jesus, can we have true life within. Each person whether they realize it or not, by receiving Holy Communion at Mass, is becoming Jesus. We are no longer just parishioners in the parish. We are no longer simply fulfilling an obligation to attend Mass. We are not just friends, not just neighbors; we are brothers and sisters to each other. We are each other, because we are becoming Jesus. How often do we hear sentiments in the Bible, like “Love your neighbor, AS yourself”, or “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another”, and again, “he that loves his neighbor, has fulfilled the law”.

The Eucharist is not something that we absent-mindedly stuff into our mouth. We are avowing that Jesus, the Messiah, the Crucified, the Savior is present, physically present, within. We believe in His words, and His life. We wish to become one with Him. ALL receiving this Sacrament are wishing to become one with Him. And thus, we become ONE with each other. We treat, (or should treat) each other with love and respect. This Communion is something special. Every time we take it from the priest’s hands, we are receiving Jesus, the same Jesus who preached to the multitudes, who forgave sinners, who cured the sick and the dying, who wept for His friend.

In becoming ONE with each other, we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Each person’s talents become gifts to be given to the people of the world. For, we are all brothers in this world, and as such we bring Jesus to each other. Our feet bring Jesus to people in need of Him. Our smiles, our tears, our assistance, our strengths and even our weaknesses, by all of these we show Jesus to others, we bring Him to our brothers and sisters of the world. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) The Mystical Body of Christ
2) To YOU, My Friend
3) Be Me

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