**Solemnity of Corpus Christi - Cycle B
June 14, 2009 **
First Reading: Exodus 24:3-8
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:11-15
Gospel Reading: Mark 14:12-16,22-26
**Overview of the Gospel: **
· This Sunday’s Gospel reading takes place in Jerusalem on Holy Thursday, the night Jesus was betrayed. It is on the first day of the Jewish feast of Passover.
· Rather cryptically, Jesus instructs his disciples to prepare for the Passover meal in a certain place in the city. According to tradition, the mother of St. Mark, the writer of this gospel, owned this room. She was also thought to own the Garden of Gethsemane.
· In words identical to those he uses when he multiplied the loaves and fed the 5000 (Mark 6:41, CCC 1335), Jesus accomplishes three things: 1) He changes the Passover bread and wine into his Body and Blood—the same Body and Blood that will be sacrificed for the sins of the world on the Cross. 2) Since a sacrifice requires priests, he establishes the priesthood. His apostles, and their successors the bishops, will comprise that priesthood. 3) He establishes the Holy Eucharist, so that in receiving Communion his people for all time and places may participate in his once-for-all sacrifice until he comes again in glory.
· Thus, just as the Old Covenant was sealed by sacrifice and blood on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 24:3-8), the New Covenant is sealed in Christ’s blood on Calvary (Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:22), anticipated at the Last Supper, and perpetuated in the Sacrifice of the Mass (John 6:53; CCC 610, 1392-93).
· Read the other, parallel, accounts of the Last Supper found in the New Testament (Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). What other interesting and enlightening details about the institution of the Eucharist do you find there?
· Why would secrecy be needed as this meal was planned? What risk was involved?
· How does the Last Supper relate to the Passover (see Exodus 12)? To this Sunday’s first reading (Exodus 24:3-8)?
· What new meaning does Jesus give to the unleavened Passover bread (see John 6:51-58)? The wine?
· How much do you think the disciples understood when Jesus spoke about his Body and Blood? What might they have been thinking? How would you have felt had you been there?
· What is your focus when you receive Holy Communion? What should it be?
**Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 1323, 1328, 1339—1344, 1403 **
“In all He did from the Incarnation to the Cross, the end Jesus Christ had in mind was the gift of the Eucharist, his personal and corporal union with each Christian through Communion. He saw in It the means of communicating to us all the treasures of His Passion, all the virtues of His Sacred Humanity, and all the merits of His Life.”
-St. Peter Julian Eymard