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The Body and Blood of Christ (C)

This is another feast that is now celebrated on Sundays in England and Wales - which will hopefully allow more people to enter into the mystery of the Eucharist we celebrate!


The Eucharist is not an invention of the Church: it is a part of God’s plan of salvation from the very beginning: it is prefigured in the Old Testament, seen today in the food offerings of Melchizedek, priest king of Jerusalem associated with Abraham, choose bread and wine as the offerings. It is also revealed by the prophetic action of Jesus, in feeding the multitude, before he feeds the Church with the gift that is transmitted through the centuries. The Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, is our communication with the Father, in the Spirit: it is the real presence in the Church’s ‘here and now’ of the eternal God; it is Covenant, Memorial and Promise, Meal and Sacrifice, the heartbeat of the Family of Believers.

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Genesis 14:18-20

The problem with the reading - for a reader and a congregation - is that it is too short! You could be up to “The Word of the Lord” before the last parishioner has settled in their place or the children have got out for the Children’s Liturgy of the Word. You need to take your time! As a general rule, the first reader should always wait until the congregation is at rest, ready to listen. This is especially true with this reading. In itself the reading is very simple: it is given to show us that even before Christ, bread and wine was used in our relationship with God. Make sure that the words “bread and wine” are heard! Don’t be afraid of the repetition of “God Most High” - it is a specific title. A “tithe” is a tenth of Abraham’s spoils after the battle.


Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

This is the earliest account of the Last Supper - this letter was written some years before the Gospels. As a lay reader you should feel a special awareness of the significance of this reading: normally the Gospel gives the ‘story’ of the feast - today you do so in this reading. Also, it is normally the Gospel which gives us the words of the Lord Jesus: today you do this. These words will be familiar, which always generates the risk of rushing and carelessness. Let the power of these words and the meaning of this day help you to take your time. In the Missal, during the Eucharistic Prayer, it states that the priest is to say the Lord’s words from the Last Supper with special care and emphasis: make sure that you do the same with this reading!