DISCOVERING THE UNHIDDEN TREASURE:REFLECTION FOR FEAST OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

Chalice, Wine, Prayer, Mass, Communion, Religion

Once a beggar met a wise man who told him that he is richer than all the rich men in the land put together. “How?” he asked, the wise replies and said, “go and wash your begging plate with ashes in the river and take it to the merchants in town and hear what they would tell you.”

The poor beggar acted immediately and got amazing offers from the merchants because the plate was raw gold though unknown to him. Thus, for many years, the man was begging with a great treasure in his hands; he was starving amid plenty.

The word treasure refers to something of great worth or value which is usually hidden or secured. Treasures are not usually found on the surface; one needs to search profusely to find a treasure. So, it sounds somehow to talk about “unhidden treasure,”; but the truth is that some great treasures are not hidden, which is why they are not regarded as treasures.   

Anyone conversant with the Gospels could recall that Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38). But when you ask people to name the good things Jesus did, a majority would mention curing the sick, raising the dead, feeding a multitude, and changing water to wine. Few, if any, would remember the gift of his body and blood.

We received two treasures from our Lord Jesus Christ; His body and blood, real food and drink (John 6:55), and the Holy Spirit he gave to be with us forever ( John 14:16). These treasures are meant to assist us in our journey towards our eternal salvation.

The Unhidden Treasure: The Eucharist

We could understand and appreciate the body and blood of Jesus Christ as an unhidden treasure if we go back to what happened during the last supper.

The Gospels and the testimony of St. Paul tell us that while they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it, he gave it to the disciples saying: “Take and eat this is my body.” He does the same with the wine, saying: “take and drink this is the blood of the covenant.” (Matt.26:26-29; Mark 14:22-26; Lk 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25).

The accounts of St. Luke and St. Paul give us further information that helps us to validate the reality of the body and blood of Jesus Christ as a treasure. This is where our Lord says, “do this in remembrance of me.” St. Paul puts it clearly, “for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26).

Utilizing the Eucharistic Treasure.

The pandemic and the lockdown experience opened the eyes of some people to many things, including the necessity and power of the reception of the body and blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Recall the extended Eucharistic fast and the recommendation of spiritual communion from the Livestream masses. I remember how one parishioner would call and beg to sneak into the Church to have a piece to quench the hunger for the Lord in the Eucharist. I wish that desire continues as the Church doors are opening wider every day and the virus gradually leaves us for good.

We tend to get complacent and lose respect and value when are used to certain things and people in our lives. Incidentally, we see this happening in our relationship with the treasure of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. So Jesus comes down to us in a very touchable and breakable form that we often take His real presence for granted.

Moving Forward!

Our Lord did not give us his body and blood as an optional menu but as essential spiritual food. Recall that he says, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life in you” (John 6:53).

The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ aid us in our spiritual journey, giving us spiritual strength and growth. And above all, we receive eternal life as our Lord promised us in the Gospel of John (6:54), where he says: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”

As we celebrate the feast of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us continually remind ourselves about the treasure of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Thus, we receive not just the bread and wine, but the body and blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the entirety of Christ.

We have a treasure and a privilege of access to an unhidden treasure, the Holy Eucharist. May God give us the grace to appreciate and value the treasure we have.

“O sacrament Most Holy O Sacrament Divine, All Praise and Thanksgiving be every moment Thine. Amen.  

Have a beautiful celebration!

Fr. Bonnie.

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