This is my body. This is my blood.
Last year, at the time of today’s feast day, the national lockdown restrictions were gradually being eased. During the previous months we had been unable to gather together to celebrate Mass. We reflected on the life of the Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who, because of his travels and research as a palaeontologist, often found himself without the means to celebrate the Eucharist in its traditional form. “I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar. I will make the whole earth my altar and on it I will offer God all the labours and sufferings of the world. This bread, our toil; this wine, our pain, representing the solidarity of all human kind and all beings, and the earth itself.” For Teilhard, the Consecration is already there. “I firmly believe that everything around me is the body and blood of the Word. That is why, in our prayer at the altar, we ask that the consecration (transformation) may be brought about in us.”
One year later, we are conscious that the bread of toil and the wine of deep pain continue to be offered daily on earth’s global altar. We have become more aware of the solidarity of all humankind, we are experiencing ‘what has been true since the first moment of our existence: We are the very Body of Christ.’ (R.Rohr) We often wonder how we can live this awesome reality. In his ‘Heart Prayer’, James Finley offers us the following practice which deepens our awareness of our inter-connectedness:
‘At times there is within each of us a burden almost more than we can bear. At those times, it helps to renew the awareness of our breathing. When we inhale, we inhale God loving us through and through, burden more than we can bear and all. God is the Presence that spares us from nothing even as God unexplainably sustains us in all things. Grounded in that love, I invite you to think of someone in your life whom you know and love, who is carrying within them a burden. As you inhale, inhale into yourself their burden so that in the spiritual realm of love they no longer have to carry the burden alone. You inhale their burden not to carry it, because it will crush you, but you inhale it that it might dissolve in Love, in the Love in which all our burdens dissolve. Then exhale into the depths of their burdened heart the Love that is at once your love and God’s love as one love. Expand this practice to those around you… your family… to our suffering world. The reality of God’s love inter-connects all of us. We pray that we will not break the thread of this inter-connected awareness, of belonging to each other, of being one body in Christ.
Gospel Mark 14:12-16,22-26
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to Jesus, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, “The Master says: Where is my dining room in which I can eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.’ The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as lie had told them, and prepared the Passover.
And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body. Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, l shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’
After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives.