The Body and Blood of Christ

Holy Communion

Study:  Reflect on the last time you received Holy Communion.  Were you attentive to the great gift of Jesus Christ – body & blood, soul & divinity – that you received?

Pray:  The next time you are at Mass, take a moment to prepare yourself to receive the Lord with an open heart.

Serve: Communion gives us strength to do the Lord’s work; who in my life could use a helping hand today?

The Body and Blood of Christ Readings

I love pasta.  I love to cook it; I love to eat it; and I can spend hours talking with family members and friends in order to learn more about how different sauces and seasonings affect flavor and taste.

In addition, I enjoy the numerous shapes and styles of pasta.  Spaghetti is a timeless classic, but there is also vermicelli, cappelini, fettuccine, conchiglie, tagliarini, cappelletti, tortellini, ravioli, rigatoni, ziti, m0staccioli, farfalle, cannelloni, campanelle, lasagna, penne rigate…….!

The list goes on and on in an immense and diverse variety of forms.  Different sauces work better with particular shapes, and cooking styles differ from one pasta to another.

And yet with all of this variety, pasta is still a very simple food.  While it has a place of honor in Italian cooking (did I mention I am Italian?), it can be found in most cultures – each sporting unique ways to prepare this basic form.

Food is an essential need in all life.  We need food to survive physically, yet food is more than just sustenance. When people gather to eat, food often becomes the means to draw others into conversation, companionship, and celebration.  Thus, food can nourish the body and the soul.

Jesus knew this simple fact.  He fed people when they were hungry (Mt 14:13-21, Mk 6:30-44, Lk 9:10-17, Jn 6:1-15, Mt 15:32-39, Mk 8:1-10).  The Lord met this basic need repeatedly, helping people to be physically sustained by giving them bread to eat.

Yet Jesus makes an astonishing claim.  He says that he is the living bread (Jn 6:51).  Thus, Jesus not only gives the people food, but he tells them that he is the food they need for eternal life.  This claim is underscored in the Gospel today, and it is supported by the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (Mt 26:17-29, Mk 14:12-25, Lk 22:7-20, and 1 Cor 11:17-34).

Every time we gather for Mass we follow the Lord’s command to take bread and wine and in His name receive His Body and Blood.  The Lord becomes food for us that we might have life in this world and in the next.  As we receive Communion may we recognize that the Lord Jesus is near, offering us his very self that we might have the food of eternal life.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

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