Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ – Mark 14: 12-16 “You are what you eat.”
Today, we celebrate the solemn feast of Corpus Christi, and 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.
How fitting it is to celebrate this feast with the opening of summer when all the beauties of nature are in full bloom! As the summer is the blooming season of the year, through the Body and Blood of Christ, we too are in bloom. We all need food in order to live, to grow up, and to maintain ourselves in good health. Without food, we lose strength and energy, and we will eventually perish. This is true for human life, but it is also true for spiritual life as well. As a matter of fact, as we need physical food in order to live, we need spiritual food in order to nourish our faith. Today’s Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ reminds us of the importance of the spiritual food that gives us the Son of God on our pilgrimage on earth and without which we will spiritually perish.
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.” Visitors to her home for the dying in Calcutta 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. This was one of her most important lessons – that we should see the mysterious connection between Christ’s presence under the appearance of bread and wine and Christ’s presence in the poor.
Pope Francis said in his homily during the mass at the celebration of Corpus Christi, “Jesus speaks in silence in the mystery of the Eucharist and each time reminds us that following Jesus means to come out of ourselves and not make our lives our possession, but a gift to Jesus and a gift to others.” The Christ in the Eucharist makes us follow His path: that of service, of sharing, and of giving; and what little we have, what little we are, becomes wealth if shared, because the power of God, which is that of love, comes down upon our poverty to transform it. Christ invites us to the table to eat the bread of understanding, the bread of forgiveness, and the bread of unconditional love. We are empowered to give these things to others and to nourish them. We are challenged in the Eucharist to love without counting the costs.
In our everyday Holy Eucharist celebration, we are receiving, nourishment by the Body and Blood of Christ and united with Christ. But it is an invitation for us to be united with our brothers and sisters with whom we live. That is why this feast, The Body and Blood of Christ, challenges us in the way we live the reality of community.
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. Let us pray that we, too, can become His bread of love and forgiveness to others. 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 the Eucharist does not end when we leave the Church, but it is just the beginning of our journey!