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Engaging the Word: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Today we give special emphasis to the sacrament at the heart of our Catholic faith, the Eucharist. In the Gospel of John, Jesus expresses the Catholic teaching about Holy Communion: the “bread” and “wine” we receive at Mass are not bread and wine any longer, but become Jesus’ Body and Blood.  Jesus contrasts the “bread of life” (his body) with the “manna” eaten by the Jews’ ancestors. We hear about manna in the first reading from Exodus: when the Israelites were wandering in the desert under the direction of Moses, every morning God sent them a mysterious bread called “manna”. This manna saved them from starvation.

Even though the manna was miraculous, it only kept the Israelites alive in this world. The manna did not help the Israelites gain eternal life. Only the Body and Blood of Jesus can give us eternal life. Sometimes our relationship with God can focus too much on getting things we want in this world. But even the good things of this life—health, family, friends—only do us good in this life. Our relationship with God is the only thing we have that can survive the grave. And at the heart of this relationship with God is Holy Communion—when we become one with Jesus and becomes one with us.


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