Homily for the feast of the Most Holy Sacrament - Year B - Mk. 14:12-16, 22-26
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to him, 'Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?' And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, 'Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, "The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?" And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.' And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover.
" And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, 'Take; this is my body.' And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, 'This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.' And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. "
" On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb... "
The feast of the Most Holy Sacrament plunges us back into the celebrations of Holy Week. We shall remember today all that the Lord Jesus did for us during the days of his sacrifice and of his eternal triumph. Indeed, if the Church celebrates on this day a feast that is specially dedicated to the Eucharist, it is because the very tight schedule of Holy Week does not allow us to dedicate sufficient time to worthily honor this very great sacrament. So today we extend, in a manner of speaking, Holy Week. The Lord gives us a surplus of time, as it were, in order for us to render glory and honor to him in his Eucharist.
It is truly the Lord himself who grants us this grace today, since, if the Church celebrates a special feast dedicated to the Most Holy Sacrament, she does so at the invitation of Heaven which, through the intermediary of Saint Juliana of Mont-Cornillon, asked that we add to the solemnities of the Church a celebration solely consecrated to the Eucharist. On this subject, we must remember that Saint Juliana lived in Belgium, near Liège, in the first half of the thirteenth century. So it is with very special attention that we in Belgium should celebrate this solemnity of the Eucharist!
" Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, 'The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?' And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us. "
The Lord Jesus had prepared everything for the institution of the Holy Eucharist. He left nothing to chance. Above all, he chose a place that was beautiful and well-decorated, with choice furniture and fine ornamentation. In the celebration of this great sacrament, all that is beautiful and well-decorated, all that makes visible the order that God established in Creation, and all that sets in relief the order that man himself, following God, has maintained in creation, all of this is honored on this day! The Order of God is spiritual, and this is its fundamental aspect; but this Order of God, which the Lord Jesus transmitted to his Church, also possesses a corporeal and material dimension through which the entire universe participates in the glorification of its Creator in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Christ wants everything to be ordered in the celebration of the Eucharist. This is why the Mass is always celebrated on the very Order of Christ who said to his Apostles: "Do this in memory of me." (Lk. 22:19) And this order is now transmitted to the Church by way of the Sacrament of Order, which thus bears the name of its own mission: the Sacrament of Order is that through which the very Order of Christ is transmitted to those who represent him on earth in the Church. It is thus that the sacrament of the Eucharist and that of Order are indissolubly linked, having the same origin in the words of Jesus we have just cited. If Christ said to the Apostles: "Do this in memory of me," it is to confer upon them the sacrament of Order, a sacrament that is directly ordered to the celebration of the Eucharist.
" Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. "
The Eucharist proclaims the Kingdom of God to come. The Church does not celebrate the Eucharist without referring to the glorious Christ who reigns forever in Heaven. If the Lord instituted this sacrament under the form of a memorial, since he said: "Do this in memory of me," it is to invite us, in this privileged moment, to remember him. The Church, when she celebrates the Eucharist, is the one who remembers her Lord and all that he has done for her: those who, in Church, truly want to participate in the Eucharist are invited to remember all the blessings they have received from God, such as the Creation, the Redemption, and the Heaven that the Lord promises us as our inheritance.
The Kingdom of God must be at the center of our attention on this feast day! Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the Queen of Heaven, to draw us ever closer to that thrice holy place, that place which must be the object of all our desires! May Mary, the Door of Heaven, help us to enter into an ever more intimate and profound communion with her divine Son present in the Eucharist!