The Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus (Corpus Christi) Sunday
John 6: 51-58
Hello, Saint Michael’s! What a wonderful focus our liturgies have this weekend! We celebrate “The Body and Blood of Jesus” (Corpus Christi). In the Gospel passage, we hear Jesus using one of His “I AM” statements. As you know, He has a habit of beginning His teachings by saying “I AM the Door”… “I AM the vine, you are the branches”… “I AM the Good Shepherd”… “I AM the way, the truth and the life” etc. This time, He tells us “I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE!” Today’s feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord originated in the Diocese of Liege in 1246 as the feast of Corpus Christi. In the reforms of Vatican II, Corpus Christi was joined with the feast of the Precious Blood (July 1) to become the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Today we celebrate Christ’s gift of the Eucharist to us. The Eucharist is “the source and summit of our life together as the Church.” We might ask, why did Jesus choose the concept of the “meal” to leave HIMSELF with us in the Eucharist. Think about this…starvation — even for a limited time — convinces us of how dependent we are on food. Physical hunger, with its debilitating effects when prolonged, is a vivid sign of what it is like not to have God in our lives and thus to be separated from the community of believers. The Eucharist “holds us together” as a faith community. Just as a meal is the satisfying relief from hunger, union with Jesus and the community of believers is the perfect satisfaction for our spiritual hunger. As Catholics, we believe in the “real presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist. We do NOT look upon the bread and wine as a “Symbol” of Jesus. We believe that after the consecration, the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is absolutely AWESOME and by rights, this reality should take our breath away!!!! Consequently, I often become incredulous when I see people receiving the Eucharist while chewing gum, talking/joking with others, and/or whipping out of Church right after they receive. In my opinion, this is very disrespectful and indicates that the person does not have an understanding of what the Eucharist is all about. The celebration of the Eucharist ends when the celebrant exits the Church proper. Let’s give Jesus our love and respect by seriously considering the privilege we have to receive His body and blood…and by worshipping for the ENTIRE Mass…from beginning to end. One of the seminarians who gives tours of St. Peter’s told of an interesting incident. He was leading a group of Japanese tourists who knew absolutely nothing of our faith. With particular care he explained the great masterpieces of art, sculpture and architecture. He finally concluded at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel trying his best to explain quickly what it was. As the group dispersed, an elderly man, who had been particularly attentive stayed behind, and said, ‘Pardon me. Would you explain again this Blessed Sacrament?’ The student did, after which the man exclaimed, ‘Ah, if this is so, what is in this chapel is a greater work of art than anything else in this basilica.’ Today’s feast of Corpus Christi is intended to make us value and appreciate the worth of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Gospel Question of the Week: Do you have a solid appreciation of the importance of the Eucharist in your life?