Corpus Christi – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Monstrance

This Sunday the Church celebrates the significant feast of Corpus Christi in England and Wales. We celebrate the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Saviour. The great mystery of the Eucharist which is the source and summit of the Christian life is the focus of this solemnity. The mystery of the Eucharist may be difficult to comprehend and accept from the physical vision for many, with the exceptions of many Eucharistic miracles that have happened over the last two millennium. At first sight, after the consecration, the species of bread and wine appear to be same. However, after the consecration, the substance of bread and wine has become truly the body and blood of Jesus. As we listen to the Gospel reading at the weekend through many live-streamed masses, we will be reminded of what Christ said: “whoever eats my body and drinks my blood will have eternal life”. The Lord is demanding this of us to enter into eternal life. This is a command for all believers from Christ and the scripture does not say to use bread and wine as a figure or a sign of the mystery of Jesus. On the other hand, Jesus told us that He is present for us in the Eucharist. We cannot detect the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist by our senses or understanding but only through the gift of faith. God loves us so much that Jesus assumed our nature to redeem all of humanity and He promised us His bodily presence Mt 24,28 (real presence). He unites us to Himself in the Sacrament of the Eucharist through the truth of His whole being. Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus is therefore present in this Sacrament for our redemption and the perfection of our faith. Jesus reveals His flesh to us in an invisible manner.

Even for many Catholics this is not the body and blood of Jesus but only a symbol; a view that is held by Catholics like many of our Protestant brethren. I had met people who believe this, unfortunately, due to the poor and erroneous catechises they have received. In these unprecedented times of pandemic, which restrict us from receiving the Sacrament, we still gather to celebrate the mass through live-streamed masses at home in spiritual communion, which is not easy for us since, in normal circumstances, we gather at the Church to adore and worship the Lord. In this circumstance, we may feel tempted to be a spectator of mass. It is easy to forget what is happening in front of us when the priest is celebrating the Liturgy, perhaps if we have not already set out a sacred space in our homes for prayer and especially when we are tuning in to celebrate mass. Possibly we can have some holy pictures and candles lit during mass time to be conscious of what God is doing at the altar, when our awesome and big God becomes so small on the paten to be with us. Let us adore Him who is always giving Himself to us. Normally we go to mass to give God worship, expecting nothing in turn only to worship. However, God gives us so much grace to strengthen our Christian lives and to renew it. God gives Himself to us without exhausting Himself or getting used up. This solemnity of precious body and blood is a profession of faith in love, which shows us the mystery of transubstantiation is a reality of God’s love which calls for our transformation. The Corpus Christi feast should remind us that there is love and therefore a transformation which awaits us which gives us hope. This hope strengthens our lives in this world; this feast is necessary for all of us at this time to remind us of what Corpus Christi is.