Body and Blood of Christ (B)
June 02, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

FIRST READING Exodus 24:3-8

When Moses came to the people
and related all the words and ordinances of the LORD ,
they all answered with one voice,
"We will do everything that the LORD has told us."
Moses then wrote down all the words of the LORD and,
rising early the next day,
he erected at the foot of the mountain an altar
and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, having sent certain young men of the Israelites
to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD ,
Moses took half of the blood and put it in large bowls;
the other half he splashed on the altar.
Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, "All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do."
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
"This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his."

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 116:12-13 / 15-16 / 17-18

R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

How can I repay the Lord
for all the good done for me?
I will raise the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.

Too costly in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.
Lord, I am your servant, your servant,
the child of your maidservant;
you have loosed my bonds.

I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

SECOND READING Hebrews 9:11-15

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came as high priest
of the good things that have come to be,
passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary,
not with the blood of goats and calves
but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls
and the sprinkling of a heifer's ashes
can sanctify those who are defiled
so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works
to worship the living God.

For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place for deliverance
from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.


Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,
    Christ, your king and shepherd true:

Bring him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow.
    Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving
Is the quick’ning and the living
    Bread today before you set:

From his hands of old partaken,
As we know, by faith unshaken,
    Where the Twelve at supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
    From your heart let praises burst:

For today the feast is holden,
When the institution olden
    Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here the new law’s new oblation,
By the new king’s revelation,
    Ends the form of ancient rite:

Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
    Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
    His memorial ne’er to cease:

And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
    Thus our sacrifice of peace.

This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
    To his precious blood the wine:

Sight has fail’d, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
    Resting on a pow’r divine.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things to sense forbidden;
    Signs, not things are all we see:

Blood is poured and flesh is broken,
Yet in either wondrous token
    Christ entire we know to be.

Whoso of this food partakes,
Does not rend the Lord nor breaks;
    Christ is whole to all that taste:

Thousands are, as one, receivers,
One, as thousands of believers,
    Eats of him who cannot waste.

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
    Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
    Is with unlike issues rife.

When the sacrament is broken,
Doubt not, but believe ‘tis spoken,
    That each sever’d outward token
    doth the very whole contain.

Nought the precious gift divides,
Breaking but the sign betides
    Jesus still the same abides,
    still unbroken does remain.

Lo! the angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
    see the children’s bread from heaven,
    which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
    Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
    manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
    You refresh us, you defend us,
    Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
    Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
    Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.


GOSPEL Mark 14:12-16,22-26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus' disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Reflection Questions

  1. With the resumption of Mass on a regular basis, how might your approach to the Eucharistic liturgy change?
  2. What do you think are likely to be permanent changes in the liturgy? 
  3. Are these changes welcome or unwelcome?

Catena Nova

Blood was shed [at the passover] for the salvation of the firstborn: It is to be shed now for the forgiveness of the sins of the whole world. If the type was able to free a people from bondage, much more would the reality liberate the world, and Christ’s death bring down blessings upon our race.... [At the Last Supper] Christ spoke of the blood of the new covenant, that is of the promise, the new law. He had promised long before that the new covenant would be ratified by his blood. As the old covenant had been ratified by the blood of sheep and calves, so the new covenant was to be ratified by the blood of the Lord. Thus, by speaking of his covenant and by reminding them that the old covenant had also been inaugurated by the shedding of blood, he made known to them that he was soon to die. And he told them once again the reason for his death in the words, “This is my blood, which is poured out for all for the forgiveness of sins and, Do this in memory of me....” As Moses had said, “This shall be for you an everlasting memorial,” so now the Lord says, “Do this in memory of me until I come.” This is why he also says, “I have longed to eat this passover,” meaning, “I have longed to hand over to you these new rites, and to give you the passover which will turn you into people moved by the Spirit (St. John Chrysostom).

It came into my mind that God has created bountiful waters on the earth for our use and our bodily comfort, out of the tender love he has for us. But it is more pleasing to him that we accept for our total cure his blessed blood to wash us of our sins, for there is no drink that is made which pleases him so well to give us. For it is the most plentiful, as it is most precious, and that through the power of the blessed divinity. And it is of our own nature, and blessedly flows over us by the power of his precious love. The precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as truly as it is most precious, so truly is it most plentiful. Behold and see the power of this precious plenty of his precious blood. It descended into hell and broke its bonds, and delivered all who were there and who belong to the court of heaven. The precious plenty of his precious blood overflows all the earth, and it is ready to wash from their sins all creatures who are, have been and will be of good will.  The precious plenty of his precious blood ascended into heaven in the blessed body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is flowing there in him, praying to the Father for us, and this is and will be so long as we have need. And furthermore, it flows in all heaven, rejoicing in the salvation of all mankind which is and will be there, and the filling up the number which is lacking (Julian of Norwich).

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus it is related that Moses, in confirmation of the old Law, put half the blood of the sacrifice into a cup, and the other half he shed upon the altar. And, after the book of the Law had been read, he sprinkled the blood upon the people and said unto them: This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in all these words. And so was the Old Testament ratified and confirmed with blood. And in like manner was the New Testament confirmed with blood, saving that, in order to declare the greater excellence of the New Testament brought by the Son of God, above the Old Testament brought by the prophet Moses, whereas the Old Testament was ratified with the blood of a brute beast, the New Testament was ratified with the blood of a rational man, and of that man who was also God, that is to say, with the blessed blood of our holy Saviour himself. And that self-same blood did our Lord here give unto his apostles in this blessed sacrament, as he plainly declared himself, saying: This is my blood of the New Testament, or: This is the chalice of the New Testament in my blood which shall be shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.  When our Lord said this, he declared therein the efficacy of the New Testament above the old, in that the old Law in the blood of beasts could only promise the remission of sin that was to come later. For as Saint Paul says: It was impossible that sin should be taken away by the blood of brute beasts. But the new Law with the blood of Christ does perform the thing that the old Law promised, that is, the remission of sin And therefore our Saviour said: This is the chalice of the New Testament in my blood – that is, to be confirmed in my blood – which shall be shed for the remission of sins. His words also declared the wonderful excellence of this new blessed sacrament above the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, in these words: For you and for many. For in these words our Saviour spoke, says Saint Chrysostom, as though he meant to say: The blood of the paschal Lamb was shed only for the first-born among the children of Israel, but this blood of mine shall be shed for the remission of the sin of all the whole world (St. Thomas More).

The Son of God has descended from Heaven, he was humbled he was, he laboured, he suffered he became subject to death, and died on the cross, for our Salvation- these are striking testimonies of his love, but he so willed it says the Prophet that all his benefits should be concentrated in one, which is contained in the heavenly food he has prepared for us.  No his love was not exhausted, it was not even satisfied by all that he had done and suffered for us;he yet would do something more. It was finished, heaven was appeased, our Sins were expiated, and Hell shut up, and though all seemed accomplished, the tender love of our Divine Saviour still invented a new work, to recommence again all he had done and if it may be so said to recommence it again at every moment. Yes, Dear Brethren, in this Sacrament Jesus Christ incarnateshimself anew, he again buries himself in the obscurity of hishidden and innocent life, again he instructs, and models his disciples,again he is exposed to the hatred and fury of his enemies again he suffers,again he dies. Thus the holy Fathers have called this Sacramentthe extension and continuation of the Incarnation- therefore it may bejustly said that in this sacrament is reunited the All the Wonders of hisMercy (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton).

Come and drink of the chalice the Lord offers you; it is full of so delicious a draught that once you have touched it to your lips you will want to drain the cup. Come; here you will find the way that leads to true sorrow of soul, to the holy anguish of zeal which is no longer a penance but a grace. Come, come to rest on the sacred tree of the Cross; come, under its crimsoned boughs, take your delight and feed on its fruit; come and hide from the pursuit of the enemy of salvation; come and see from experience how sweet and light is the Lord’s yoke. … always be seen on the summit of the holy mountain holding in [your] hands the chalice of salvation and uniting [your] voices to that of the Precious Blood in order to beg grace and pardon for [yourselves] and all people. At the sight of this striking sign of the inexpressible love of his Word made flesh, the heart of our Father who is in heaven will be touched and the waves of his mercy will flow over every point of the globe (Ven. Mother Catherine Aurelia).

Do you now therefore, speaking through my lips, pronounce over this earthly travail your twofold efficacious word: the word without which all that our wisdom and our experience have built up must totter and crumble — the word through which all our most far-reaching speculations and our encounter with the universe are come together into a unity. Over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day say again the words: This is my Body. And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, speak again your commanding words which express the supreme mystery of faith: This is my Blood. That is why, pouring into my chalice the bitterness of all separations, of all limitations, and of all sterile failings away, you then hold it out to me. ‘Drink ye all of this.’ How could I refuse this chalice, Lord, now that through the bread you have given me there has crept into the marrow of my being an inextinguishable longing to be united with you beyond life; through death? ….The sacramental bread is made out of grains of wheat which have been pressed out and ground in the mill; and the dough has been slowly kneaded. Your hands, Lord Jesus, have broken the bread before they hallow it...That Christ may enter deeply into us we need alternatively the work that dilates the heart and the sorrow that brings death to it, the life that enlarges a man in order that he may be sanctifiable and the death that diminishes him in order that he may be sanctified. The universe splits in two, it suffers a painful cleavage at the heart of each of its monads, as the flesh of Christ is born and grows. Like the work of creation which it redeems and surpasses, the Incarnation, so desired of man, is an awe-inspiring work: it is achieved through blood. May the blood of the Lord Jesus — the blood which is infused into creatures and the blood which is shed and spread out over all, the blood of endeavour and the blood of renouncement — mingle with the pain of the world (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin).

Many of the scenes from Genesis and Exodus are apparently concerned, on the historical level, with a state of transition from a world in which human sacrifice was practised on a regular basis, particularly the sacrifice of the first-born, to a world in which the only legitimate blood rites are circumcision and the burning of animal victims (Jacob’s blessing, the sacrifice of Abraham, the circumcision of Moses’s son, and so on). There is no lack of texts to back up this hypothesis. From our standpoint its advantage is that it allows us to view the Bible permeated by a single, dynamic movement away from sacrifice. We can distinguish a number of very different stages — differing in their content and the results they produced — which are nonetheless identical in general bearing and form. This form always involves the preliminary disintegration of a pre-existing system, a catastrophic crisis that ends happily when the victimage mechanism provides a mediation, and the subsequent establishment of a sacrificial system that became more and more humane. The first stage is the transition from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice in the so-called patriarchal period; the second, in Exodus, is the institution of Passover, which accentuates the common meal rather than the burnt sacrifice and can hardly claim to be a sacrifice at all in the proper sense of the term. The third stage is represented by the prophets’ wish to renounce all forms of sacrifice, and this is only carried out in the Gospels.

[Thus the] Eucharist is really related to sacrifice but instead of representing the violence against the victim, of being the victim that you eat, you eat the total refusal of violence, which is Christ. It’s a reversal, but it’s still the same symbolism. The anthropologists are right to point that out. It doesn’t mean it means the same thing, but what they see is that it is the same thing, so since they think that the killing is only symbolical anyway, they feel the Eucharist and sacrifice are pretty much the same thing. But it is not because the shedding of blood, the violence in sacrifice, is essential. It means the end of violence yet at the same time it shows the continuity with a whole history of religion, so when the anthropologists tell you “Hey, it’s cannibalism” you should answer “Yes, of course, cannibalism is part of human history and the Eucharist summarizes it all in non-violence.” Therefore, why not cannibalism there as well? Cannibalism is the essence of sacrifice. Cannibalism means that you eat the sacrificial victim in order to be your victim, because you want to be that victim. The reason you killed him is you want to be him/her. Therefore, if you absorb his/her flesh, you become them, just as if you absorb the flesh of Christ, you should become a little bit nonviolent, more than you were before (René Girard).



Seeing Red


            “Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.” Not likely after all we’ve been through – a pandemic, racial tensions, climate change, political instability, economic uncertainty, a polarized church and society.  Having an optimistic view of things, much less an pollyannish one, may well seem questionable for many, if not most, people.  There’s nothing wrong, of course, with being an optimist. Trust in a provident God, love of whom induces a belief that “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28) makes such confidence a Christian virtue to be cultivated – appearances to the contrary.


            But there’s another color which might be a more appropriate tint through which to view the world for the purpose of  clarifying a Christian’s vision, namely, the color red – and more specifically, the red of Christ’s blood.  Today’s feast is dripping with it.  Now you might think that could lead to pessimism as an equal and opposite vice opposed to the virtue to optimism.  After all, an habitual reminder of the price of redemption exacted at the hands of the Lord’s enemies might well make you see things in a negative light, always on the lookout for the next cause of human suffering – especially your own.


            I think, however, that between these two ends of a spectrum lies a happy medium appropriate for a believer’s life, namely, Christian realism. For there is little point in turning a blind eye to the many evils that afflict us and the world, any more than there is to being so wide-eyed that we are left with little else but pious platitudes when asked why such things exist.


            If anything, “seeing red” gives us reason to confront personal, social and physical evil with the resolute hope spurred on by the Paschal Mystery whereby sin and death do not have the final word.  For when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be...with his own blood he obtained eternal redemption. So the blood of the Lamb has conquered the ravages of evil. The drama being played out on the stage of human history – including our own times – has its outcome sealed while those who suffer trial and tribulation await the promised eternal inheritance (cf. II).


            Even so, those who’ve gone before us marked with this sign knew all too well the ability of their oppressors to succeed in destroying them: for example, when Nero crucified Peter upside-down and beheaded Paul; when his fellow Emperors threw Christians to the lions in the amphitheaters of Rome; when the Moors, Saracens and more recently ISIS beheaded them for not practicing the right religion; when the revolutionaries of France, Spain, Mexico, and Russia sensed there was something about the gospel that just might overthrow them if they weren’t careful; when the Nazis and the Soviets thought the State was better off putting them in concentration camps and gulags; and, alas, when Christians themselves persecuted and killed other Christians whom they judged to be either too orthodox or too heretical.


            Now you might think that of all people the victims of murderous regimes would hold the most pessimistic view of humanity.  Not so.  But neither would I call them optimists.  They are, as I said, realists. And the reality that sustained them was the blood of the covenant shed for many (cf. G).  So much so that the Second Century convert Tertullian would exclaim, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.” He astutely observed how, the more the Roman authorities spilled Christian blood, the more the church seemed to grow. And if Tertullian were to observe the rest of church history, he would not be surprised to learn that pretty much every one of the oppressive systems I mentioned can no longer be found on the face of the earth, from the Roman Empire itself to Stalinist Russia.  And all the while the church of Christ has endured. So Tertullian couldn’t have been more realistic. Nor could his vision refract a redder hue.


            So whether you wear glasses or not, the next time you look out on the world see if you can detect a red glow cast over all you behold.  And no matter what the vista see how it has all been “reconciled by the Blood of the cross” (cf. Col. 1:20) -- destined for a glory where a Lamb is seated on a throne, albeit as if slain, and find therein cause for neither optimism nor pessimism, but for realism about life, knowing that no matter the tribulation, this precious blood has spoken with “eloquence greater than Abel’s” (Heb. 12:24) a word of redemption and final vindication.     


            For this is not the blood of a lamb, or a goat, or a heifer.  Such things have seen their day. Because, ultimately, they failed.  The elaborate rituals of sacrifice set forth in the Law of Moses proved unable to touch the depths of conscience burdened by sin and guilt.  “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins” (Hb. 10:4).  Only the blood of Christ who offered himself unblem­ished to God, [can] cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God (II).  The blood of animals offered by Aaron and his descendants was but a faint image of the Blood offered by Jesus, our high priest (II).  Those sacrifices -- even the paschal lamb -- could only turn God’s justice away.  But they could never attract his mercy.  They could not bring God into the sanctuary of our hearts, and there make us his children through the Holy Spirit. Only the blood of Jesus can open to the Holy Spirit the door into our inmost being, into the tabernacle where God is pleased to dwell.


             Which is why we raise the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord (RP).  For the Spirit of God draws near this cup, to sanctify these gifts.  And when we drink from it, the blood of Jesus cleanses us, nourishes us, and transforms us: .Blood which belongs in us, the body of Christ, as a pledge of our eternal inheritance (II): that we might delight for all eternity in that share in God’s divine life, which is foreshadowed in the present age by our reception of Christ’s precious Body and Blood(cf. Prayer after Communion).  Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.



Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli; Prayers for Sundays and Seasons)

As we worship the living God, let us lift up our voices in prayer through Christ, the high priest and mediator of the new covenant.

That all the people of God, treasuring the book of the covenant, may live in peace by obeying the Lord’s words and ordinances.

That all the peoples of earth, redeemed by the blood of the covenant, may reverence each other as children of the one God who has chosen them.

That those who have defiled themselves by espousing prejudice or racism may allow the blood of Christ to purify their consciences and hearts.

That those preparing to receive their first Holy Communion, together with their parents or guardians, may truly make the Eucharist central to their Christian lives.

That who bring Holy Communion to the sick and homebound may be living signs of the presence and care of Christ, our Passover and our Peace.

That we who are graced in this Eucharist with the Book of the Covenant, the broken Bread and the Cup of blessing may offer our lives as a living sacrifice of praise to God and service to all.

That by the death of Christ who redeems them, the faithful departed may receive the promised eternal inheritance.

 God ever-faithful, you have made a covenant with your people  in the gift of your Son, who offered his body for us and poured out his blood for the many. As we celebrate this eucharistic sacrifice, build up your Church  by deepening within us the life of your covenant and by opening our hearts to those in need. We ask through Christ our Lord.  Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Interlude(John Michael Talbot)


Come to the feast of heaven and earth!
Come to the table of plenty!
God will provide for all that we need,
Here at the table of plenty.

O come and sit at my table
Where saints and sinners are friends.
I wait to welcome the lost and lonely
To share the cup of my love.

O come and eat without money;
Come to drink without price.
My feast of gladness will feed your spirit
With faith and fullness of life.

My bread will ever sustain you
Through days of sorrow and woe.
My wine will flow like a sea of gladness
To flood the depths of your soul.

Your fields will flower in fullness;
Your homes will flourish in peace.
For I, the giver of home and harvest,
Will send my rain on the soil.

Lord’s Prayer

Asking God for our daily Bread, we pray as Jesus taught us....

Spiritual Communion

We are aware, Lord, that the Eucharistic famine we have experienced these long months is coming to an end and we will soon be gathered around your Table again with few restrictions.  On this feast of your Most Holy Body and Blood we ask yet one more time for the grace of a spiritual Communion and for a deep and lasting appreciation of the great gift of your blessed Sacrament.  Never permit us, Lord, to take your gift for granted nor the communities with whom we worship on your Day. Renew in us a love for the sacred liturgy and help us always to participate in your Mysteries with attention and sincere devotion.  



Closing Hymn  (John Michael Talbot)


In remembrance of Me
This is My body
In remembrance of Me
This is My blood
Whoever eats of this bread
And drinks this cup of salvation
Shall not die but shall live
Shall live forever

For His flesh is His food
And His blood we'll drink
Those who receive shall never die but shall live forever
Strengthened by Heavenly bread
Strengthened by bread of angels
Your cup of salvation bring
Come all and receive

Come humbly bow and adore
Before the mystery of mysteries
Under creation's form
Yet the creator of all
Within flesh yet not enclosed
Incarnate and transcendent
Consumed but by all yet not destroyed
Received by all and the Lord