This is the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. When we speak of Jesus as the Blessed Sacrament, under the form of bread and wine, we speak of receiving him, of visiting him, of adoring him. But St. Paul, in today’s second reading gave prominence to our joining the Blessed Sacrament in a fourth way: of our participating with him. Paul asks,
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”
What does Paul mean by saying we participate in the body and blood of Christ? The answer to that goes back to the table blessing Jesus offered at the Last Supper. The traditional blessing had three parts. First, the host asked the guests to join him in recalling their favors from God. Secondly in that table blessing the host asked for God to come into all their hearts. At the third, and final part of the blessing, the host asked the guests to join him in becoming one pleasing gift to the Father. Their Greek name for that third part, the pleasing gift, was the eucharis.
In Luke and Paul’s account of the Last Supper it was at the eucharis, that third part, that Jesus broke the bread, and said, “This is my body which is for you.”
He was giving his body to each of the diners so that having received him, they are enabled to physically participate with him as a part of the one pleasing gift. Our union with Christ in the Mass becomes complete when we give our hearts and our minds to completely participate with him in one pleasant gift to the Father.