Bonded by the Lord’s meal

June 6, 2021 – Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/060621.cfm)

In almost every Filipino homes there is a picture of Last Supper near the dining table. Have you ever wondered why in all places such picture of the Lord’s last supper is hanged near the dining table?

This is because we, Filipinos love celebrations. We like to be part of big party or fiesta. Basically, we are meal-oriented people. We like to eat, and mealtimes are important and meaningful activity for us. Yes, we like to eat, but we like to eat together. We eat not only for nourishment but for companionship as well. For us, eating is not only a usual routine of nourishing our own physical body, but also a common activity of strengthening relationship and bonding. That is why we eat together not for the food, but for the companionship and covenant it brings. Mealtime for us is not only the time to eat, but also the opportunity to encounter – to experience one another.  This is why we don’t like to eat alone. We like to eat with companion, because for us, meals, eating, tables would mean celebrations, table-fellowship, sharing, bonding, rituals, and communion.

The word ‘companion’ is an interesting word. It comes from two Latin words: cum which means “with”, and panis which means bread. So a ‘companion’ literally means someone whom I share bread with. And it is only a few (not all) you enjoy having meal with. There has to a bonding – a relationship first, which is deepened by the sharing of food and drink. Usually, by inviting a person to a meal, we seal our contracts, we show acceptance and approval. We know that once you are invited to take part in their table – to eat with them, it would mean that you are already accepted.  You become one of them. You belong to them.

This is why we like the picture of the Last Supper hanging on near our dinner table because we want to be part of Lord’s celebration of life.  Taking our meals in front of the picture of the Last Supper, whatever the food is, whether lechon or bulad or ginamos, would mean we want to be a companion of Jesus and his disciples in their party celebration. This is why it is also particularly difficult for us to not able to attend Holy Mass during these pandemic times, & how insufficient it is, just to take part of the Holy Mass through the live-streaming. In other words, we do like to renew and strength our faith-relationship with Him. We want to be accepted and belong to His community. We like to be part of His family-banquet, His party. And All of these are greatly done and signified until now in our table-fellowship in the Lord’s Eucharist, in our celebration of the Holy Mass. 

Today, we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ. Today, we recognize and celebrate Christ’s continuing Presence and His binding promise of love and redemption to us, through His gift of Himself in a form of bread and wine. Our readings today remind us that as in life we feed ourselves with food, the Lord also feed us with His food, not only to nourish us but also to strengthen our covenant relationship with Him. Jesus in our gospel today specially has offered us His body and blood, as our inheritance of God’s manna in the Holy Eucharist. By sharing us Himself in body and blood, Jesus sealed us new covenant-relationship with God. And because of this, we are continually nourished by God’s graces and we are in communion with Christ’s eternal life. In other words, through His body and blood, Jesus is offering us not only God’s food for our faith-life journey but also a meal-time party (or a food trip) with God. That is why every time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, we are in covenant or in companionship with God, with Jesus, and with one another. Thus, through our table-fellowship as family and community in our celebrations of the Lord’s Eucharist every Sunday and also as Filipino in front of the picture of the Lord’s Supper, we are united with the Lord and we take part with His glory and work of redemption. 

Perhaps if we say nowadays, “We are what we eat and who we eat with” (Tayo ay ang Anong kinain at sino ang kasama), in attending Eucharist, we as Christian proclaim that through the body and blood of Jesus we are having party-meal (food trip/ breaking bread) with God now and always.

For those who are not able to receive communion during live-stream Masses, nowadays they pray Act of Spiritual Communion of St. Alphonsus, saying “I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart… Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.” Such words express our deep desire to be in communion with Jesus, to be part and companion of His eucharistic sacred life.

During these pandemic times, we pray that we may always be in communion & in companion with our risen Lord, be nourished by His body & blood, and be always united & bonded, not separated from His love & mercy.

So Help Us God, So May it be. Amen.

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