The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. (Corpus Christi). (Year A) (June 11, 2023). Dt 8:2-3,14b-16a; I Cor 10:16-17 Jn 6:51-58.
“The Eucharist as our food and drink”.
Introduction: The feast and its objectives: The last two precious gifts given to us by Jesus are the Holy Eucharist as our spiritual food on Holy Thursday and Jesus’ mother Mary as our spiritual Mother on Good Friday. Thus, “Corpus Christi” is the celebration of the abiding “Real Presence” of a loving God as Emmanuel – God-with-us – in order to give collective thanks to our Lord for his living with us in the Eucharist, so that we may appreciate it better and receive maximum benefit from the Sacrament. And so as Catholic Christians, we believe, and explain the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist by this theological/ philosophical term, “transubstantiation”, which means that the substance of the consecrated bread and wine is changed to the substance of the risen Jesus’ glorified Body and Blood by the action of the Holy Spirit, while its accidents (like color, shape, taste etc.), remain the same. Hence, although we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday, (through Pope Urban IV who first extended the feast to the universal Church), the Mother Church wants to emphasize its importance by a special feast, formerly called “Corpus Christi.”
Life Message: The Corpus Christi readings remind us of Jesus’ offering of his Body and Blood which serves in the Church as a lasting memorial of His saving death for us. We renew Jesus’ Covenant by participating in the banquet of his Body and Blood, a banquet that, through his death, gives us life. Can there be a religion in which God is closer to man than our Catholic Christianity? Jesus does not believe that he is humiliating himself in coming to us and giving himself to us in his Flesh and Blood to be our spiritual Food. John Chrysostom says: “What do communicants become? The Body of Christ. Just as the bread comes from many grains, which remain themselves and are not distinguished from one another because they are united, so we are united with Christ.” Christ is the Head and we are the Body, the members. Together we are one! This is symbolized by our sharing in the same Bread and the same Cup. Hence, Holy Communion should strengthen our sense of unity and love.
Conclusion: We have tarnished God’s image within us through acts of impurity, injustice, disobedience and the like. Hence, there is always need for repentance, and a need for the Sacramental confession of grave sins, before we receive Holy Communion. We should remember the warning given by St. Paul: "Whoever, therefore, eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the Body and Blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the Bread and drink of the Cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the Body, eat and drink judgment against themselves." [1 Cor. 11:27-9]. Therefore, let us receive Holy Communion with fervent love and respect -- not merely as a matter of routine. Because, such a union, plainly, means that our outward piety towards the consecrated Bread and Wine, cannot coexist with rudeness, unkindness, slander, cruelty, gossiping or any other breach of charity toward our brothers and sisters.