Celebrating Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Christ

June 7, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend we celebrate another central mystery of our Catholic faith — Corpus Christi — The Body and Blood of Christ. Let us once again turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (canons 1323 – 1327) for guidance —

“At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’”

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”

The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination of both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.

Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.

In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.”

WOW! I sometimes wonder if we truly understand and are able to embrace this central mystery. The Eucharist is not merely some sign or symbol; rather, Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. How radical! How incomprehensible! And yet, as Catholics we are called to say “Yes!” to this fundamental tenet of our faith. Is it any wonder why so many Christians are unable to accept this Catholic belief? Further, is it any wonder why so many Catholics struggle with this great mystery? By the world’s standards, the Eucharist simply does not make sense. How can God become man? How can Jesus truly be present in the Eucharist? As Catholics we do not try to explain, instead we are called to simply say “Yes!” as we celebrate this great sacrament of love.

This weekend is always a great opportunity to reflect on this belief. Consider —

Is the Eucharist at the center of our personal, family and church lives? How do we receive this Sacrament? How do we proclaim to the world that we are a Eucharistic people?

Peace, Fr. Brian