In my young adult years, it was such a joy to attend Mass with a group of friends who all participated in the same Bible study.
In fact, besides Mass and Bible study, we did pretty much everything together. It was an amazing experience of the body of Christ on many levels.
The bond we shared was rooted in the sacraments and faith formation, and it sustained us through some rough years as young adults.
We formed our own social circle and did community service together. Many people met their spouses, and marriages were made through this community.
Now, 25 years later, many of us are still friends and our children are continuing the bond we share. In a very real way the body of Christ was and is experienced in this group. The connection is supernatural, transforming, encouraging and consoling, and it spans decades.
Another way the body of Christ was revealed to me in the context of this group happened one day as the group was at Mass together.
I was sitting next to Kelly. After Communion, I noticed that she was weeping. I did not say anything but just prayed for whatever might be upsetting her.
Blown away by Jesus
The next week, we ended up next to each other again and after Communion she was weeping again. This time I asked if everything was all right.
She said, “Yes, I just feel Jesus cleansing me of my sins.”
This blew me away. The body and blood of Jesus had affected her in a deeper way than I had ever felt.
This week’s reading from Hebrews speaks of the power of Jesus to take away sin: “How much more will the blood of Christ . . . cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.”
Whether it is in eucharistic form or in shared communal bonds, the body of Christ renews and transforms.
It is no wonder that the documents of the Second Vatican Council refer to the Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian spirituality.
The body and blood of Jesus is the place where it all began, and it is the place we find completion.
This CNS column is offered, in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas, where Jeff Hedglen is associate director of Young Adult Ministry for the diocese and campus minister for the Catholic community at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Sunday, June 10
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
• Exodus 24:3-8
• Hebrews 9:11-15
• Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
How have you experienced the body of Christ in community? How does receiving the body and blood of Jesus impact your faith life?