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    St. Mary's Parish
    211 Avenue O South
    Saskatoon, SK
    S7M 2R6

    Phone: 306 244 2983
    Fax: 306 242 6461
    stmarysrectory@sasktel.net

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  • Mass Times

    Sunday Masses
    Saturday: 7pm
    Sunday: 9am, 11am,
    1pm Aboriginal Mass with Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
    4pm mass in Spanish

    Weekday Mass Times:
    Monday to Saturday: 9am
    Wednesday: 9am, 7:15pm


    Perpetual Help Devotions at both Wednesday Masses

    Adoration and Benediction on First Saturdays following the 9:00 AM Mass until 12:00 Noon
  • Reconciliation

    Saturday: 4-5pm, 6-6:45pm
    Sunday: 12:30-1pm (Guadalupe Parish)
    Sunday: 3-4pm in Spanish
    Wednesday: 6:30-7pm

    Or by appointment
  • Office Hours

    Monday to Friday
    8:30am to 12 Noon
    12:30pm to 4:00pm

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

In today’s excerpt from his letter to the Corinthians, Paul articulates what we now refer to as the institution narrative, and these words comprise the earliest scriptural account of the Last Supper. Paul is writing to the Christians in Corinth in the early 50’s, some twenty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection and about twenty years before the first Gospel, Mark, was written. He is very disturbed by their manner of treating one another when they come together to celebrate. To get a better understanding of Paul’s narrative it may be helpful for us to consider the fuller context of 1 Corinthians 11:17–34 where he recalls what happened “on the night (Jesus) was handed over.”

 

First, we must remember that at those times there were no special buildings erected for Christian worship. Worshipers gathered in the homes of people who were wealthy enough to have sufficient room for such a gathering.

Because the larger homes in Corinth were of a style similar to the larger homes in Rome, these had a triclinium—a three-sided chamber in which the more privileged guests (usually nine in number) would recline around a low table. There was also a larger area, the atrium, where other less distinguished guests would gather to eat.

 

Paul was very upset when he heard about the inappropriate habits that became part of the celebrations of this faith community in Corinth. There were obvious social gaps between the rich and the poor; special status was given to a privileged few, while many people present were totally ignored; and the celebration gave little evidence of what Paul considered essential for a Spirit-filled community gathering made one in Christ.

 

Paul notes that in their “coming together” they did not really come together at all. For one thing, the more privileged and wealthier among them would often “overindulge” and give little heed to the poorer members. This social gap between rich and poor became most evident in their celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Paul was especially disturbed to hear that the wealthier among them often ate and drank to excess while the poorer members received much less than the others, and often, nothing at all.

 

It is precisely to confront this scandal of division where there should be unity and community that Paul recites the tradition that he had passed on to them when he had originally catechized them. Paul’s rehearsal of the solemn account of the Last Supper was meant to alert them to a fundamental realization: that their failure to care for one another’s basic needs in the gathering for the Lord’s Supper flies in the face of the very meaning of that ritual practice. The Lord’s Supper—what we have come to call the Eucharist (in Greek) or the Mass (in Latin)—commemorates Jesus “handing over” of himself for our redemption; thus our celebration of that event should be evident in our “handing over” of ourselves to one another, at least in seeing that each one is cared for. However the rest of their culture may discriminate between privileged and non-privileged guests at dinner gatherings, Christians, when they come together for the Lord’s Supper, are to “receive” one another as guests. In this regard, Paul’s motto was (Gal 3:28) “…neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free person…not male or female.” Paul felt that none of these distinctions should be in evidence among Christians, especially so at the Lord’s Supper.

 

Luke’s Gospel description, describing the feeding of 5,000 people with 5 loaves and a couple of fish, has been commonly understood as a foreshadowing of the Eucharistic meal where Jesus continues to feed the gathered assembly. More recent scriptural insights, however, describe a foreshadowing that gives an even richer meaning to the Eucharistic gathering. Having been nurtured by the Eucharist and having become people-of-the-Eucharist, do we not have some responsibility to do what Jesus himself has done? We live in a world where many millions go unfed every day and our common attitude is something like…“The world is so large and the problem is so great, what difference can our little contribution make?” Or, we may hear words like, “People must simply fend for themselves; that’s the reality.” The more probable meaning however is this: the hungry and the needy and the outcasts of the world are “in front of us” in much the same way that they were in front of Jesus in the desert, tired and hungry and without food. What Jesus did in His time, we people of the Eucharist, must do in our time. We are all one with Christ. As such we are called to be “people of the Eucharist”—people of service—so that ultimately, they all may be one (Monika Hellwig.)

In the Eucharist the ordinary becomes the extra-ordinary: ordinary bread and wine become the Body and Blood of the Risen One; and ordinary people like you and me become the extra-ordinary Body of Christ, the Church!

 

Fr. Frank Reitzel, C.R.

05 – May 29, 2016

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