Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ – JOHN 6: 51-58
Today, we celebrate the solemn feast of Corpus Christi. It is a celebration of the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ. The purpose of this celebration is to teach us to appreciate the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, both as a sacrament and as a sacrifice.
Recently, I watched the Oscar winning movie, “Gandhi”. During this move one scene really touched me. Mahatma Gandhi, a nonviolent political and spiritual leader, after he returned from South Africa and started getting involved in the struggle of Independence of India. Gandhi made a journey all over the country to see and experience the life of village people. One of his close missionary friends from South Africa, C. F Andrews joined with Gandhi in these trips. They were traveling by a bus and Andrews noticed that some village people were sitting on the roof of the bus. They invited him to join them. Once Andrews reached the top of the bus, the village people welcomed him with broad smiles. One of them asked in his broken English, “You, Christian?” Andrews nodded yes. The villager said, “I know Christians. They drink blood.” Now Andrews was confused. But the villager continued saying, “The blood of Christ …. every morning.”
Sounds funny; but it is very true. We not only drink the Blood of Christ, we eat His Flesh, too. That is what Jesus did two thousand years ago on a day like this, Jesus broke the bread with His disciples and shared the cup of wine with them and told them – “This is my Body and Blood!”. That is what we celebrate today —The Feast of Body and Blood of Christ!
St. Mother Teresa said, “The Holy Eucharist is the spiritual food that sustains me – without the Eucharist I could not get through one single day or hour in my life.” When visitors came to her home for the dying in Calcutta, they were often surprised that their first stop was the Eucharistic chapel. Mother Teresa would tell the visitors, “Jesus is the Master of the house;” Jesus’ presence was the reason for her love for the poor and sick.
During this COVID lockdown we all experienced how much we missed attending the Holy Mass and receiving Holy Eucharist. My many friends shared with me through the e-mails and phone calls that, “Nothing can substitute the beauty of participating in the Holy Eucharist in a Church and Holy Eucharist had become part and parcel of my life.” Another person wrote me that, “I need the Body of Christ like I need my coffee in the morning, like my medications, like my daily food and water.” Jesus invites us to the table to eat the bread of understanding, the bread of forgiveness, and the bread of unconditional love. We are challenged in the Eucharist to love without counting the costs.
The sign of the Body of Christ is not only in the consecrated bread and wine alone; it is in us, transformed by the Spirit through the Eucharist and empowered to become the ‘real presence’ for others. Let us allow God to live through us as the Bread of Life. When we do this, we become Eucharist for others and make the love of Christ real for all. As we leave this Church, please remember that a Christian, who receives Jesus’ body and blood, is made to be a living tabernacle of God’s presence! Our celebration of Eucharist does not end when we leave the Church, but it is just the beginning of our journey!