Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of ChristB

Reading 1: (Exo 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."

Reading 2: (Heb 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.

Gospel (Mk 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.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: Jesus sacrified his Body and Blood for us to live.

            Every year, almost every nation in the world has a day, called Memorial Day, to memorize soldiers who died on their duties. These are people who sacrificed their life by pouring out their blood to protect the nation. In the solemnity of Corpus Christi feast which we celebrate today, we commemorate Christ, who not only sacrificed his life to redeem people’s sins and to bring salvation for people, but also wanted to remain with people until the Last Day by instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist. He could do these because he has power and loves people.  

            Today readings report God’s love through the works He has done to redeem people. In the first reading, since the Israelites unceasingly sinned against God, they must offer animals’ blood to redeem their sins. In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews compared the Passover and the Sinaic covenant which was done through Moses with the New Passover and the New Covenant which was done by Christ. He is the unleaven Bread and the Passover Lamb of the New Covenant. Christ sacrificed his life for people and brought eternal life for them. In the Gospel, Jesus sent out two disciples to Jerusalem city to prepare the Passover. During the Passover meal, he instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist to offer his Body and Blood for people to live, both in this present and the next life. He also commanded his disciples to often do this to memorize him.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: The Sinaic covenant was ratified by the animals’ blood.

1.1/ God established the Sinaic covenant with His people: Before the Israelited could enter the Promise Land, God wanted to establish a covenant with them. Since they couldn’t stand God’s great power when He appeared to them, they asked God to speak to them through Moses. After received God’s instructions, Moses came down from the mountain and reported to people all God’s words and His commandments. All people said in one voice: “We will do everything that the Lord has told us.” A covenant is an agreement between the two parties in which they promised to do certain things to protect each other. According to the Sinaic covenant, God promised to protect His people, and the Israelites promised to keep all of His commandments.

            “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."”

1.2/ The Sinaic covenant was ratified by animals’ blood: “Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words of his."” The Israelites believe blood is the symbol of life. When they ratified the covenant with blood, they swear to God with their life that they shall keep His laws; but they violated this covenant many times. In order to forgive them, God commanded them to kill animals to take their blood as offerings to redeem their sins, as the Book of Levites wrote: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, no person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood” (Lev 17:11-12).

2/ Reading II: “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.”

2.1/ Comparison between the blood of the old covenant and the blood of the new covenant: The blood of the old covenant is only the figure of the blood of the new covenant and must be perfected by it. The author compared in details the two covenants and generally concluded that the new is much better than the old covenant: “But 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.”Christ is the High Priest who is more important tham all the high priests because of these following reasons:

            (1) He doesn’t need to offer sacrifice for himself because he has no sin while all other high priests must offer sacrifice for their sins before they can offer sacrifices for people’s sins.

            (2) He volunteered to sacrifice himself to be the offering for people’s sins, and once for all. From that time on, people don’t need to offer animals’ blood any more when they sinned.

            (3) The high priest could only enter the Holy of the Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement. Christ entered a more perfect tabernacle in heaven, and he always sits on God’s right side to intercede for people. At the time of his death on the cross, Christ tore down the curtain which separated between the Holy and the Holy of the Holies of the temple; therefore, all people could directly come to God through Christ any time.

            (4) Christ’s blood can’t be compared with animal’s blood: The author continued to explain: “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.”

            Christ’s blood is much more effective due to the following three reasons: First, he vonlunteered to pour out his blood to do God’s will, not like animals who were made to pour out. Secondly, Christ’s blood is from the Son of God which animals’ blood can’t be compared. Lastly, Christ’s blood has power not only to purify people’s sins but also to sanctify and to give them the divine life.

2.2/ The functions of blood:

            (1) To purify: The blood of our body keeps flowing to discard dirty elements in all parts of the body. The blood of the old covenant is animals’ blood to purify people’s sins while the blood of the new covenant is from Christ and purifies people’s sins once for all. The author explained, “For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant.”

            (2) To nourish: Blood is the symbol of life because it nourishes all parts by necessary elements from food. The blood of animals were poured out to die in the place of people, while Christ’s blood was poured out to die for people and to recover eternal life for them, as the author said, "those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance."

            (3) To unite: Blood unites all the body’s parts together. In the Old Testament, the Yom Kippur is meant "at-one-ment = to become one." This day is needed to unite people with God and with others. In the New Testament, Christ’s blood is poured out to unite all members of one body which is the Church, with Christ as the Head.

3/ Gospel: "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”

3.1/ Christ’s Passover: has a historical backgound in the Jewish Passover, which God liberated the Israelites from slavery to the Egyptians, and brought them to the Promise Land full of milk and honey. Jesus also likened his Passion as a passover, “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father” (Jn 13:1). In the Jewish Passover, the unleaven bread and the Passover lamb are two necessary things for the event: the lamb’s blood was used to put on the doorpost so that God’s angels shall pass over and don’t come in to kill all the firstborn males as they do to the Egyptians.

3.2/ Jesus established the sacrament of the Eucharist: In the new Passover, the unleaven bread is Jesus’ body as reported by Mark: “While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."” The new lamb is Christ’s blood as Mark continued, “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.”

            In the new Passover, Christ also liberated people from slavery of sins and death by his Body and Blood. After eating the Passover, the Israelites must be on the road and begin their journey through the Red Sea. Jesus and his disciples must do the same. After the institution of the Eucharist, Jesus and his disciples sang the hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives to pray and to be tested.

            Our lives must also be the same. After received the spiritual food from the sacrament of the Eucharist, we must go into the world to face many difficulties and daily sufferings such as: diseases, hard works, differences, misunderstanding, division and hatred, in addition to worries about our future. The divine life which we receive from the Eucharist shall give us strength to overcome all these difficulties. If we neglect to receive this spiritual food, how can we find power to overcome difficulties in our life?

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - The Eucharist is the sacrament of love. Out of his love for us, Christ established it to remain with us all the days of our life. We need to often receive this sacrament so that Christ can increase our charity.

            - The Eucharist is the sacrament of life. We live not only physically but also spiritually. The sacrament of the Eucharist provides spiritual strength for us to happily live and to overcome all daily obstacles.

            - The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity. This sacrament unites us with God and with one another. To live in harmony, we must often receive this sacrament. 

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