Homily for June 10, 2012
The Eucharist, as the Catechism famously says, is the Source and Summit of our faith, because it is God Himself in whom we exist and whom we seek as Our Goal. If this is true, any part of our faith can be directed toward the Eucharist as part of understanding it. So let's give this a try. We are going to take today's reading and see what it has to do with this quote from Saint Athanasius: The Glory of God is man fully truly living, and the life of man is to behold God.
We have heard a lot in today's readings about blood. Blood for the Jew is equivalent to life. And of all the gifts God gives to mankind, life is the most fundamental and in so many ways the most precious. So blood represents God's greatest gift to created beings, including the human race.
Since it was his gift, God demanded an account for when blood was shed. Remember how God tells Cain that the blood of his brother Abel cries out from the earth for justice. Blood could never be abused. It was God's special domain.
The Jews could not unnecessarily touch or to eat the blood, this was why they had such strict dietary laws. Genesis 9:4 Saving that flesh with blood you shall not eat. And contact with blood or impure meat made you unclean for three days, you could not enter the Temple.
In temple sacrifices, animals were drained before being sacrificed. God does not want his gift of life offered back to Him, because it would be in a sense wasting it.
Perhaps this strict law of avoiding blood and not sacrificing it to God was so that man could at the fullness of time receive once again the gift that God had already given him, but in a new way.
Now the life that the blood symbolizes which was already given to man is giving in and you more complete more fulfilling way. Jesus Christ gives not just physical human biological life, but rather super natural to find life: God's greatest and ultimate gift to the human race.
This is the great mystery we find in the Eucharist – in the Body and Blood of Christ. Here God gives us more than just our daily life by which we can enjoy all the other wonderful gifts he has given us. Here he gives us more; here he gives us what were created for, what we must deeply long for: Communion with Himself who is our Creator and Our Lord. Can this mystery ever be exhausted? The saints have spent their lives reflecting on it, cherishing it, adoring it.
Saint Athanasius: The Glory of God is man fully truly living, and the life of man is to behold God.
May the Lord God who daily offers Himself to us in bread and wine be our very life, not merely human life, but life in its truest and deepest sense: life to the full, life for all eternity in God.