Second Thursday of Shliha, Precious Body and Blood of Jesus



Qeryana I (Old Testament Reading I): Genesis 14:1-20  
Qeryana II (Old Testament Reading II): Malaki 1:6-11  
Engarta (Epistle Reading): 1 Corinthians 10:15-17; 11:23-30  
Evangalion (Gospel): John 6:51-64  
 

Gen 14:1-20
Melchizedek, King of Salem and the priest of God Most-High is the pre-figuration of Christ, the High Priest of the New Testament. As the Old Testament person, the Son of God had also no earthly father or mother or genealogy (Heb. 7:1-3). The name Melchizedek denotes king of righteousness. Christ was the same in the most sublime sense. The Old Testament figure was the king of Salem, which denotes peace, welfare and bliss. The King of kings is the Lord of shalom (in Syriac shlama). As the priest of God Most High Melchizedek offered Abram, the Father of salvation history bread and wine, and blessed him. Jesus the High Priest became the personification of the offering of the bread and wine. His body and blood were sacrificed for the redemption of humanity. Thus the High Priest of the new covenant himself became the offering and the one who offers. Because of such a sacrifice he brought the divine blessings on the children of Abraham. Today we celebrate the feast of his precious body and blood. Let us prostrate before his presence in the tabernacle and proclaim: “Let there be praise, honour, thanks and adoration to the Blessed Sacrament.”

 

Mal 1:6-11
The prophet speaks about the sins of the priests and Levites of the Old Testament. The Lord had no pleasure in them nor accepted the sacrifice from their hands. Malachi predicts of the coming times in which a pure sacrifice will be offered and the divine name will be glorified from the rising of the sun, even to its setting. This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ, the High Priest in whom God is well pleased (Mt 3:17). He offered his own body and blood as the pure sacrifice for the expiation of sins of humanity. It brought praise (teshbohtâ) and honour (’iqā), thanks (tāwdiŝa) and worship (segdsâ) to the Triune God.

 

1 Cor. 10:15-17; 11:23-30
There existed a tension in the community of Corinth between the Eucharist versus pagan sacrifices. Many did not distinguish the basic difference between them. Paul brings into light the sublime sense of the Eucharist in which the Christians share in the body and blood of Christ. Then he narrates the institution of holy Qurbana. Before receiving the body and blood of Christ every member of the community has to examine himself/herself, since the unworthy ones will be sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. This will bring judgment on them.

 

Jn. 6:51-64
The reading forms part of the discourse on the Bread of Life and its effect on the hearers (vv. 25-71). Jesus is the living Bread that comes down from heaven. During their journey to the Promised Land Israel was given Manna, the bread from heaven. They ate it and died. Now Jesus the Living Bread gives eternal life. Most of the listeners could not digest this sermon. They murmured against Christ. At this Jesus became blunter in his assertions, which prompted many of the disciples to leave his company. 


Eucharist is a mystery, which humans cannot comprehend with their limited intelligence. It needs firm faith. As Jesus puts it, “it is the spirit that gives life.” Faith is a gift, for which we have to earnestly pray. Then he will grant this grace to us.

 

Father Paul Kalluveettil, CMI (paulkalluveettil 'at ' gmail.com)

Read more reflections