Fr Vincent's reflections on Corpus Christi Sunday

Jesus declares himself to be:  “the living bread that came down from heaven,” and that “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

 

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            Corpus Christi 2020

 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.      R/.  Amen.

 

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.             R/.  And with your spirit.

 

On this Feast of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, let us pray:

 

             O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament

             have left us a memorial of your Passion,

             grant us, we pray,

             so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood

             that we may always experience in ourselves

             the fruits of your redemption.

             Who live and reign with God the Father

             in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

             one God, for ever and ever.                                                     R/.  Amen.

 

As before, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along.  The Gospel today is John 6:51-58.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John.

      Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:

      “I am the living bread that came down from heaven;

      whoever eats this bread will live forever;

      and the bread that I will give

      is my flesh for the life of the world.”

 

      The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,

      “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

 

      Jesus said to them,

      “Amen, amen, I say to you,

      unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

      you do not have life within you.

      Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

      has eternal life,

      and I will raise him on the last day.

 

      For my flesh is true food,

      and my blood is true drink.

      Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

      remains in me and I in him.

 

      Just as the living Father sent me

      and I have life because of the Father,

      so also the one who feeds on me

      will have life because of me.

 

      This is the bread that came down from heaven.

      Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,

      whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

 

             The Gospel of the Lord.                                                            R/.  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

      Jesus declares himself to be:  “the living bread that came down from heaven,” and that “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  The Gospel of John, chapter 6, which we read from today is the source of our Catholic theology on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic Host.  The institution of Eucharist takes place at the Last Supper when Jesus says:  “take and eat, this is my Body;” “take and drink, this is my Blood.”  But the full significance of what Holy Communion is can be found in John 6:

             “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

             has eternal life,

             and I will raise him on the last day.

             For my flesh is true food,

             and my blood is true drink.

             Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood

             remains in me and I in him.”

      The Jews who heard this message understood that Jesus meant his real flesh and blood.  That’s why they quarreled and eventually stopped following Jesus, because they found this teaching impossible to believe.  Even many Christians want to say this is symbolic language, and that the bread and wine remain simply bread and wine.  But the Catholic Church has always affirmed that the bread and wine offered on the altar, by the miracle we call transubstantiation, become the Real Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Jesus Christ.  Exteriorly, it keeps the appearance of bread and wine – God does not want to assail our human senses – but the substance, what really matters to us, is now Jesus Christ.

      For a priest to be able to celebrate this miracle and invoke God’s action to make bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus, he must be ordained through an unbroken line of ordinations traced back to the Last Supper itself!  Because it is not the priest who performs the miracle but Jesus himself, in the person of the priest, who obeys the commandment Jesus gave the first Apostles: “whenever you do this, do this in remembrance of me.”  This is not some casual event, or some “play acting” like a book turned into a stage performance or a movie.  We are spiritually reliving and participating in the Upper Room meal with Jesus and the Apostles; we are spiritually present at Calvary with Jesus offering his life on the Cross to forgive our sins; we are sharing the rebirth and life transformation of the Resurrection when we come to Mass and receive the Blessed Sacrament.

      That it is truly Jesus Christ, our Savior and our God, is made clear through all the reverence and attention we give to the Eucharist in the Liturgy of the Mass, and even as we “reserve the Blessed Sacrament” here in the Tabernacle and keep the Sanctuary lamp lit.  This truly is the “House of God.”  We should enter the church conscious that we are in the Presence of God, and all that takes place here should be done with that awareness.  It is sad that sometimes we treat the church, the “House of God,” like any other gathering place, like the focus is all on us, and God is secondary.  Today we are invited to reevaluate our attitude of reverence for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and the purpose we have churches and Tabernacles holding the Body of Christ.

      Jesus loved me enough to die for me, to free me from my sin.  He loved me enough to create the miracle of the Eucharist, to share his physical presence, his Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, that even though I can’t see him face-to-face, He is with me now and feeds me so that I can be joined with him forever in the glory of Heaven.  What wondrous love that is!  He only asks that I accept the truth of John’s Gospel, the truth of the institution of the Eucharist, and that I make God first in my life each and every day.  We all say that we want to go to Heaven some day, and Jesus has taught us how to get there and by what means we can assure our entry into Heaven.  “Take and eat!  Whoever eats will have everlasting life!”

             The Lord be with you.                                                                R/.  And with your spirit.

             And may the blessing of almighty God,

             the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

             come down on you and remain with you for ever.                    R/.  Amen.