Sunday Reflection – 28 October – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Recognise in the bread, that same body that hung on the cross
and in the chalice, that same blood that gushed from His side.
Saint Augustine (354-430)
In the offering that Jesus makes of Himself we find all the novelty of Christian worship. In ancient times men offered in sacrifice to the divinity the animals or first fruits of the earth. Jesus, instead, offers Himself, His body and His whole existence – He Himself, in person, becomes the sacrifice that the liturgy offers in the Holy Mass.
In fact, with the consecration of the bread and wine they become His true body and blood.
Saint Augustine invited his faithful, not to pause on what appeared to their sight but to go beyond: “Recognise in the bread — he said — that same body that hung on the cross and in the chalice that same blood that gushed from His side” (Disc. 228 B, 2).
To explain this transformation, theology has coined the word “transubstantiation,” a word that resounded for the first time in this Basilica during the IV Lateran Council, of which in five years will be the 8th centenary. On that occasion the following expressions were inserted in the profession of faith: “his body and his blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar, under the species of bread and wine, because the bread is transubstantiated into the body and the wine into the blood by divine power” (DS, 802).
Therefore, it is essential to stress, in the itineraries of education of children in the faith, of adolescents and of young people, as well as in “centres of listening” to the Word of God, that in the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ is truly, really and substantially present.
And let us also keep present that the Eucharist, joined to the cross and resurrection of the Lord, has dictated a new structure to our time.
The Risen One was manifested the day after Saturday, the first day of the week, day of the sun and of creation. From the beginning, Christians have celebrated their encounter with the Risen One, the Eucharist, on this first day, on this new day of the true sun of history, the Risen Christ.
And thus time always begins again with the encounter with the Risen One and this encounter gives content and strength to everyday life. Because of this, it is very important for us Christians, to follow this new rhythm of time, to meet with the Risen One on Sunday and thus “to take” with us His presence, which transforms us and transforms our time.
Pope Benedict XVI – 17 June 2010