Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus 2024 Franciscan Gospel Reflection

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

May 30, 2024

Franciscan Friar Fr. Paul Gallagher reflects on the Gospel readings for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. What are you communicating by standing before the person holding the host with your hands outstretched?

The content is edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. To read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here Franciscan Gospel Reflection June 2 2024. Excerpts are from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Photos: Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Archives Eucharistic banners

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “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.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


There is general agreement among scripture scholars that John’s chronology of the events of Jesus’ passion and death is more accurate than that which is found in the synoptic Gospels. Jesus died on the afternoon before the celebration of Passover began, and his body was removed from the cross before sunset as the Jews gathered to begin that sacred meal.

However, when Mark and the early Christians gathered to remember that last meal with Jesus, they understood it as a kind of new Passover. It was similar to the way their celebration of Passover was not just a remembering of what had happened one night in the past in Egypt. In their yearly celebration of Passover, they believed that that they were once again making present that night when Yahweh acted on their behalf. They were Egyptian slaves, and they became God’s chosen people.

The early Christians carried their Jewish understanding of celebrating the Passover as a way to carry into the present the relationship that was established in the original Passover. For early Christians the celebration of Passover takes on the meaning of Jesus’ celebrating of the Passover with them and his institution of the Eucharist. When they were celebrating Jesus’ last meal with them, they were renewing that new relationship with Jesus and God that Jesus had begun. Their understanding and appreciation grew as they participated in the ritual itself and reflected on its meaning. The condensed description of Jesus’ celebration of the Passover with his disciples that appears as our text incorporates years of reflection on their old traditions, their remembrance of Jesus, and their new experiences as people who believed Jesus to be the Messiah.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you remember certain days each year because of a significant event that took place on that date? (birthday, graduation, vows, society, surgery, cancer free)
  2. How aware are you of the kinds of food you eat, or when your body is hungry or thirsty, or the effect certain kinds of food have on you?
  3. Can you recall times when you have used a meal to help communicate to another how you felt about that person?
  4. When you think of Jesus having meals with others in the Gospels, which stories come to mind? What kind of message is being communicated by those meals?
  5. If you consider the Eucharist as an expression of God’s desire, what is being communicated to you?
  6. What are you communicating by standing before the person holding the host with your hands outstretched?
  7. Can you take some time to talk to God about your thoughts and feelings around the Eucharist, or about this feast, or your own experience of your body and blood?


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