4. The Entombing of the Body of Christ

(Taken from the Cross, the deposition of Jesus’ reposed Body confirms the Communion Rite in the Mass of the Faithful as the necessary precursor to our own death and burial with Christ. As members of Christ’s Church, this consecrated sharing of Our Lord’s Body and Blood sustains us in grace as our necessary expression and commanded testimony in personal witness of our belief in the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – celebrated daily in the Sacrifice of the Mass.)

John 19:38-40.  And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave.  He came therefore, and took away the body of Jesus.  And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night,) bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.  They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.  Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid.  There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

“The Unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church.  Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ.  Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body – the Church.  Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism.  In Baptism we have been called to form but one body.(Cf. 1 Cor 12:13.)  The Eucharist fulfills this call: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?  Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:”(1 Cor 10:16-17.)  “If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive.  To that which you are you respond “Amen” (yes, it is true!) and by responding to it you assent to it.  For you hear the words, “the Body of Christ” and respond “Amen.”  Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true.  (St. Augustine, Sermo 272: PL 38, 1247.) (CCC. 1396.)

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys (contemplating the mystery), Glory Be and Fatima Prayer.

Excerpt from The Holy Family Rosary:

This next event becomes our immediate reflection of the Communion Rite for humanity’s sake, forever sealed with the giving, taking, anointing and burial of His Sacred Body in the new tomb and precursor to the concluding mystery of the Mystery of Faith – the Resurrection.  We are given the opportunity to participate in our redemption from sin by our sharing in this rite of consumption and proper reposing of His Most Precious Body and Blood within.  This is described in the new Catechism as: “‘Great is the mystery of the faith!’ The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles’ Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three).  This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God.  This relationship is prayer.”[1]

Thus, the importance of the Last Supper is immediately ‘received’ in eternal review from these meditations being found, consumed and believed by pondering the fulfilling of His Holy Word to all the faithful in this libation of Himself as Eucharist that we were to “take… and eat.”[2]

The Angelic Church Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas taught: “Just as in a physical body the operation of one member contributes to the good of the whole body, so it is in a spiritual body such as the Church.  And since all the faithful are one body, the good of one member is communicated to another; every one member, as the Apostle says, is part of another.[2]  For that reason, among the points of faith handed down by the Apostles, is that there is a community of goods in the Church, and this is expressed in the words: communion of saints.”[3]  Also speaking of this taking of the body of Christ as our Communion Rite, St. Hilary of Poitiers (c.300-c.368) taught: “In the Scripture our people are shown to be made one; so that just as many grains collected into one and ground and mingled together make one loaf, so in Christ, who is the heavenly Bread, we know there is one body, in which our whole company is joined and united.”[4]

The holy order of God is revealed in His Creation as the Word made Flesh in descending then ascending steps through the reverence of the Son of God’s living example of faith and loving sacrifice in death.  In Jesus being One with the Father, we receive God eternally through Jesus’ charity-revealing love.  Remembered daily in the Sacrifice of the Mass within Christ’s Church, the entire world now looks ahead to the promise spoken by St. Paul regarding the entombing of His Body mentioned earlier and worthy to repeat: “So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the second time he shall appear without sin to them that expect him unto salvation.”[5]  Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come!

In our reception of the Body of Christ as “new sepulchers” we remember Jesus saying: “Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.  They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread.  And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.”[6]  He concludes this promise saying: “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.”[7]  Dearest Lord, please give us always this daily bread.  Amen.

We contemplate this last Old Testament Sabbath with the Mother of God’s Son in the offering and reception of Jesus as our Manna from Heaven in pilgrimage to Jesus’ Kingdom on eternity’s just parasceve, awaiting His Glorious Kingdom to come.  The Old Paschal Feast becomes merged, fulfilled, and forever renewed with Mary’s reception of the Body of Christ, with Mary’s loving watch over her Son taken from the Holy Cross, now united with us spiritually by the Passover of the Lord from this Life on Earth – eternally viewed through her Immaculate Heart – in us as His chosen faithful, soon to be entombed after our rejoicing in the Triune God, eternally echoing “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost!”  Amen, amen, and amen! – again, again, and again!

[1] CCC #2558
[2] Cf. Eph. 4:25.
[3] Cf. Mt. 26:26.
[4] On the Communion of Saints, CPATS.org.
[5] On the Unity of the Catholic Church, CPATS.org.
[6] Heb. 9:28.
[7] Jn. 6:31-35.
[8] Jn. 6:55.

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