Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
M Mons. Vincenzo Paglia

Gospel (Mk 14,12-16.22-26) - On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover was sacrificed, the disciples said to Jesus: "Where do you want us to go to prepare, so that you can eat the Passover?". Then he sent two of his disciples, saying to them: «Go into the city and a man will meet you with a jug of water; follow him. Where he enters, say to the master of the house: "The Master says: Where is my room, where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?". He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready; prepare dinner for us there." The disciples went and entered the city and found it as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread and recited the blessing, broke it and gave it to them, saying: "Take, this is my body." Then he took a cup and gave thanks, gave it to them and they all drank from it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many. Truly I say to you that I will never drink of the fruit of the vine again until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." After singing the hymn, they went out towards the Mount of Olives.

The commentary on the Gospel by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia

Today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Domini. It was established at a time in European Christianity in which many questioned the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, thus emptying the holy liturgy, the heart of Christian life, of its strength. With this celebration the Church wanted to urge her children to discover the strong sense of the real presence of Jesus among her also in the consecrated bread and wine. He proposes it every year so that we can all rediscover the concrete meaning of Jesus' love. The reading of the Gospel of Mark links this celebration to its true origin, to that last supper that Jesus wanted to celebrate with his disciples before his passion. And the first Christian community understood the centrality for its own life of the words that Jesus pronounced at that dinner when he took the bread and, distributing it to those disciples, said to them: "This is my body" and offering the cup with the wine for them to drink, he said, "This is my blood." The words spoken by Jesus at that dinner – and which the priest repeats on the altar verbatim – suggest that Jesus is not present in any way in the consecrated bread and wine. He is present as a "broken" body, as a "shed" blood for everyone; a body that keeps nothing for itself, a body that becomes bread and drink to nourish and quench our thirst throughout our lives; a body that is distributed generously and freely: that bread and that wine cannot be bought, they have no price. He is a Body that loves and gives its life for others. It is the body of God's love, the Body of Jesus who gives himself totally, who knows no greed, calculation or savings. And he teaches his disciples to always love, to give their lives for others, as he did and continues to do. That consecrated host is a scandal for us who always try to save ourselves, for a world accustomed to making everything a market, for a society that does nothing for free. That host is also a teaching for the Church to be a community that lives for the salvation of others and not to preserve itself.