The Ordinary Time of the Liturgical Year began on the Monday after Pentecost. It is helpful to accept that last week’s celebration of Trinity Sunday, and this week’s feast of the Body and Blood of Christ are, by default, the 9th and 10th Sundays in ordinary time. {We can add to this information the point that the Monday after Pentecost ushered in the 8th ordinary Week.}

All useless information? Not really, because it is fruitful background to recognise that before we embark { weigh anchor and sail into the open ocean of taking up the challenge of Christian discipleship in our routine lives} we are, this Sunday, reminded that we are (i)like it or not, empowered by the Spirit, and (ii) called to name our living God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and be named by this God.

Are we ready, yet, for this journey into the routine of life as a Christian disciple? Not really, because we need food for the journey (the descriptive Afrikaans word padkos has real significance here}.

So, the celebration of Corpus Christi!

At once, recall the experience of the prophet Elijah who on his way to the mountain of God became both dispirited and depressed. The prophet fell into a deep sleep and awakening “found a cake baked on hot stones, and a pitcher of water. … The Lord touched him, saying, Rise and eat; the journey is too much for you. He rose and ate and drank and, sustained by this food, he went on (to) the mountain of God.” (see 1KINGS 19: 1 – 9). Almost immediately the Lord asks Elijah (v 10) the awesome question, Why are you here, Elijah?

As we prepare ourselves to enter this ordinary time, we need to ask ourselves the same question. Why are we here, about to embark? In addition, if we read only a little further in the story of Elijah we will discover that the Lord was not to be found in the extraordinary but, rather, within the ordinary (the gentle breeze). It is for our ordinary encounters with the daily routine that we need padkos!“He rose and ate and drank and, sustained by this food, he went on …”

Our celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ reminds and reinforces this fact.

We now need to read all three (and the Psalm) Scriptures against the background outlined above.

EXODUS 24: 3 – 8

PSALM 115 or 114

HEBREWS 9: 11 – 15

MARK 14: 12 – 16. 22 – 26

It is important for us to also bear in mind the very clear and specific teaching of Jesus in John’s version of the Gospel. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you can have no life in you …. My flesh is real food; my blood is real drink.” (6: 53 & 54) How much clearer did Jesus have to be?

LIFE and JOURNEY! The Eucharist is not only a celebration of thanksgiving, but it is a celebration of life, and a meal. Unless I have Eucharist the journey of life would be too much for me.

In a sermon I preached on Holy Thursday this year I stated that “the Eucharist carries and enables us to cope with our failures and not be crushed them … we must be the authors (of our stories) not merely the readers.” If we check the story of Elijah we will see that he had thought he had failed and, thus, felt crushed. However, he rose and ate and drank and, sustained by this food, he went on …” The application of this should be easily understood by all of us.

There is in our Gospel extract a powerful question posed to the Lord by the disciples: “Where do you want to go and make the preparations (to eat) the passover?”

Where does the Risen Christ want us to celebrate Eucharist? Well, we need to accept that he wants us to celebrate, as a part of our ordinary routine, in life. It is in life and living that “we do our service to the living God.”(see the Hebrews extract). JESUS IS LIVING BREAD!

As the opening stanza of our Psalm informs us: “How can I repay the Lord? … the cup of salvation I will raise.”