Sunday Reflection – 5 July – “Month of the Most Precious Blood” – Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Saint Francis of Assisi (c 1181-1226)
The Body of the Lord
“The Lord Jesus says to His disciples: “I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also and from now on, you shall know him and have seen him.” Philip says to him: “Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.” Jesus says to him: “Am I with you so long a time and still you do not know me? Philip, he who sees me sees my Father also” (Jn 14:6-9). The Father dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16) and God is spirit (Jo 4:24) and no-one has ever seen God (Jo 1,18). Hence only in spirit can He be seen, for it is the spirit that gives life; the flesh has nothing to offer (Jo 6:63). Yet, neither is the Son, inasmuch as He is equal to the Father, seen by anyone other than by the Father, other than by the Holy Spirit.
Wherefore, all those who saw the Lord Jesus according to humanity and did not see and believe, according to the spirit and the divinity, that He is the true Son of God, were condemned. So also now, all those who behold the Sacrament which is sanctified by the words of the Lord upon the altar, at the hand of the priest, in the form of bread and wine and do not see and believe according to the spirit and divinity, that it is truly the most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, are condemned. This the Most High Himself attests, who says: “This is my body and the blood of my New Testament” (Mk 14:22-24) and: “who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood will have everlasting life” (Jn 6:55). Wherefore, the Spirit of the Lord, who dwells in His faithful ones, He it is who receives the most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord. All others who do not share of that Spirit and presume to receive Him eat and drink judgement to themselves (1Cor 11:29).
Wherefore, O you sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? (Ps 4:3). Why do you not recognise the truth and believe in the Son of God (Jo 9,35)? Behold – daily He humbles Himself (Phil 2:8) as when from heaven’s royal throne (Wisd 18:15) He came down into the womb of the Virgin. Daily He Himself comes to us with like humility; daily He descends from the bosom of the Father ( Jo 1:18; 6,38) upon the altar, in the hands of the priest. And, as He appeared to the Apostles in true flesh, so now also he shows himself to us in the Sacred Bread. And, as they by their bodily sight saw only His flesh, yet contemplating Him with the eyes of the spirit, believed Him to be very God, so we also, as we see our bodily eyes the bread and wine, are to see and firmly believe, that it is His most holy body and blood living and true. And in this way the Lord is always with His faithful, as He Himself says: “Behold I am with you always until the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).”