The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ brings us back to the central mystery of faith – God became Man – He took on human flesh and blood - the same is sacramentally present to us in the Holy Eucharist.
How do we best honour someone’s memory? By holding on to something that belonged to them. We give that item a place of special honour in our home and hearts.
Artefacts – photo albums, a framed picture, an anniversary Mass, a Mass in their birthday, a memento, an antique, an item of clothing, even a lock of hair, their signed name on a book. These are true treasures and of sentimental, though nonetheless real value to us.
Something they wanted to leave us personally and particularly, amidst their last words and breath.
We may have something they treasured and they in like pass it on to us and we treasure it as deeply.
Something we would want to hold on to and keep even if we are moving house.
Something they would want us to remember them by.
Something in particular they would want us to do for them as a special last request and favour, to honour them and their request we would feel terrible not to honour that and not to keep our word to them.
All of this is what Jesus asked of His disciples, the first priests at the last Supper – his last meal, his farewell: His last time meeting all of them together was a meal, and a memorial, and linked to His sacrifice: This is my Body, this is My Blood, Do this in memory of me. What did Jesus give as a parting gift? – Himself, His very Body and Blood.
Grief and memory, recalling words and actions: Their words, phrases, wisdom, words to live by, with meaning, relevance and personal application. That is summed up for us in the Liturgy of the Word in the Mass – speaking, repeating His words, listening, attending to and putting into practise in our lives what He wants us to do.
We are honouring His wishes in doing precisely – in ritual – in re-presenting His sacrifice at the Mass in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The meal is sacred and shared.
Finally when someone dies, their spirit is with us. We feel their presence around us in ways we cannot adequately express in words. They are somehow present to us, how, we cannot say.
But Jesus is truly present – His Spirit is with us – His Holy Spirit, but also His real Presence in the tabernacle, in the monstrance. He is not dead He has risen and is alive in our midst. His last words, His parting words, risen from the dead and about to ascend to His Father, were ‘I am with you all days, until the end of the world.’
Come let us adore Him, Come let us worship.