Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

June 2, 2024

June 2, 2024

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June 2, 2024

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Sr. Julia

Sr. Julia

Walsh, FSPA

Walsh, FSPA

What does it mean to take the cup of salvation?

The other night, I was with group of Christians gathered around a restaurant table sharing a joyful feast, following my friend’s book talk. It was the end of a hard day for me: a day when I was dealing with discouragement, sadness, doubt, and fear.

Before I went out for the evening, I nearly called to say I couldn’t attend the celebration because of the grief I was dealing with.

But I knew it would be better to be with community instead of isolating myself, so I went.

During the dinner, a few folks at the table decided to order a bottle of wine. A glass was put in front of me. Wine flowed into the cup. Then there was a natural and normal gesture of lifting our glasses together and letting them clink and saying some words of thanksgiving and joy.

For me, in that moment, taking up the cup and drinking the wine was a gesture of acceptance of the struggle and it was a gesture of promise. As I took up the cup of wine and drank, I promised to remain connected to my friends. Through the sharing of that bottle of wine we said that we’re connected, we’ll continue to show up for each other. Around the table that night, there was a type of communion-- the heartfelt telling of stories, the sharing of wine, the breaking of bread, the expression of thanksgiving and love.

After the dinner, I returned home boosted by the encouragement I experienced among loving community.

It was holy and sacred, and it was ordinary: humans with hearts beating blood through their bodies. Food, wine, cups, gestures.

Each body is made whole and rebuilt through ordinary holiness, through connection. Thanks be to God that we each have a part.

What does it mean to take the cup of salvation?

Across cultures and times, humans have shed blood to show loyalty, to make promises. Through blood pact rituals, many people have united as blood brothers and sisters.

Blood is ordinary and it is a powerful element: a life force and a connector. An indicator of sacrifice and promise.

And for the ancient Hebrews, blood was understood to cleanse.

The shedding of blood offered atonement, forgiveness.

Moses had animals sacrificed,

their blood put into bowls and then proclaimed to his community:

All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.

After that, he sprinkled the blood on the people saying,

"This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his."

Jesus knew this story: he was a person of the same covenant—when he gathered around a table with his beloved community.

That night he took a cup, gave thanks,

and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

Jesus took an ordinary cup of wine and proclaimed:

“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

Now at every Holy Mass ordinary cups of wine become holy cups of blood, uniting us to Jesus’ body and to each other: by taking the cup of salvation we become One.

What does it mean to take the cup of salvation?

Salvation history is a story of covenantal relationships: of belonging, and becoming, of promises kept and true love, of mercy and transformation. In community we are healed, we are made whole.

Jesus Christ our brother shared loving sacrifice of himself and offered forgiveness and liberation by the shedding of his blood.

Jesus Christ is our brother and our salvation.

He is our nourishment and strength.

In our culture and time, we honor the body and blood of Jesus Christ—we become united as Christ’s body—as we honor the sacrifice of Christ upon the altar. We are nourished and strengthened, and sent to share feasts with our friends and boost one another up. We celebrate communion at restaurants, at dining room tables and at the Holy Mass. As we take the cup of salvation, we become healed, we become One. Thanks be to God.

First Reading

Ex 24:3-8

PSALM

Ps 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18

Second Reading

Heb 9:11-15

GOSPEL

Mk 14:12-16, 22-26
Read texts at usccb.org

Sr. Julia Walsh, FSPA

Sr. Julia Walsh, FSPA

Julia Walsh is a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration who ministers as a vocation minister and writer. She earned a BA in History and Education from Loras College (Dubuque, IA) in 2003.

Julia Walsh’s ministry experiences include teaching high school, jail ministry, spiritual direction, retreat leadership, volunteering for Catholic Charities, preaching, accompanying formerly homeless youth and children, and assisting in parish communities as a catechist and lector. In 2017 Sister Julia earned a MA in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union (Chicago, Illinois). Along with another Franciscan Sister, she co-founded The Fireplace, an intentional community and house of hospitality on Chicago’s southside that offers spiritual support to artists and activists. Julia enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, traveling, making art, building community, watching movies, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her family, friends, and Franciscan Sisters.

A widely published spiritual writer, her writing has appeared in publications such as America, National Catholic Reporter, Living Faith Catholic Devotional, Chicago Sun Times, The Christian Century, and Living City. Julia Walsh is the author of For Love of the Broken Body: A Spiritual Memoir (Monkfish, 2024) and the host of Messy Jesus Business blog and podcast.

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