The Feast of Corpus Christi, is also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. As Catholics, we are taught reverence for the Eucharist and we do practise it. Most of us reverence the Eucharist, meaning, we genuflect, kneel, and treat the Sacred Host with respect. Most of us also receive communion at every Eucharistic Celebration. It’s a part of the Eucharistic Celebration, isn’t it?
Let’s reflect a bit deeper. How many of us are really aware of what we are doing when we approach the sacrament? What am I receiving or participating in?
Is it just a meal I share with a community? Definitely, we consume something together – Jesus feeds us with himself. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asked the Apostles to provide food for the hungry crowd themselves “Give them something to eat.”(Lk 9:13), something beyond their capacities. In a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, Jesus’ action in the multiplication of the loaves resembles his action at the Last Supper in offering the bread and wine (compare Lk 9:16 and Lk 22:19). In the celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus invites his priests to join him in preparing food for us, his own body and blood, which we need, and then distributes it to sustain us.
St Paul says something more, “every time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we are proclaiming his death” (1 Cor 11:26). He wrote this to remind the Corinthians of the intention and seriousness in the re-entering of the New Covenant at the Last Supper. We repeat this as a prayer during the Eucharistic Prayer after the consecration (the mystery of faith). Now, how does my participation in a meal proclaim the Lord’s death and resurrection?
St Paul stresses the supreme love of Christ in giving himself to us in the Holy Eucharist. We are reminded of Jesus’ concern for the hungry crowd listening to His teachings and we see His love in giving of Himself as food to everyone at the last supper. Jesus displays the same love and concern for us at each celebration of the Eucharist. For the Eucharist to yield its fruits to the community, we must celebrate it united in mutual love as St Paul commands.
There is the old adage “you are what you eat” – which is intended to convey the message that it is important to eat good food to be healthy. There is some truth in this when it comes to the Eucharist. If I believe that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood and Divinity of the Lord Jesus, it should do something to the way I live my life. Do I believe in what I am receiving so that my heart is moved with love when I receive the Lord?
Let us ponder the depth of our faith in the Eucharist today and strive to renew it, worshiping God as one who believes with our whole being.
The Lector Ministry