When I graduated from high school 45 years ago my sister Susan gave me this cross made from WV coal. In the years that followed this cross reminded me of Jesus, but also of my graduation and my sister. 28 years ago today his month, my sister died suddenly and unexpectedly. Now when I look on this cross I think of her life, her love, her death, and the hope we Christians have in eternal life.
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. In the first reading we hear how Melchizadek blessed bread and wine and gave it to Abraham. Saint Paul tells us how Jesus did the same on the night before he died for us and gave us his body & blood in the Eucharist to help us REMEMBER and CELEBRATE our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We REMEMBER with our minds all that God has done for us in Christ and through the Holy Spirit. The infinite and eternal God became finite and mortal and died on the Cross. Jesus founded the Church and sent the Holy Spirit to be with and for us. Our sins can be forgiven. We can live forever with God.
We CELEBRATE with our voices as we sing and pray:
“Glory to God in the highest.”
“We believe in one God.”
“Hosanna in the highest.
We REMEMBER with our ears as we listen to the Word of God
from both the old and new testaments
proclaimed and preached
and prayed in the various prayers and songs of the liturgy.
We CELEBRATE with our bodies
as we stand, kneel, and sit, as we sign ourselves with the cross at the beginning, middle and end,
as some of us hold hands and most all share peace
as we process to communion (and outside after Mass)
and celebrate, as St. Paul says, that we are one body.
We REMEMBER with our eyes
as we see others gathered in worship,
as we see our beautiful church, crucifix, and medallion
as we see the blessed bread broken for us
and the consecrated wine poured out for us
We CELEBRATE with our hearts & spirits THE GREAT LOVE
Jesus showed in giving up his life,
the Father showed in raising him from death,
and they both showed in giving us the Holy Spirit.
We REMEMBER and CELEBRATE that
the bread and wine we offer becomes the Body & Blood of Christ
when we eat this bread and drink this cup it is Jesus –
body and blood, soul and divinity,
his life, love, grace, presence and power – we receive.
My sister gave me this cross of coal by which I remember her. Jesus gave us something far more special: the Eucharist, made of his body and blood. Remember, celebrate, give thanks, and – in the Words of Saint Augustine – become what you receive.