Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
(Ex 24:3-8; Heb 9:11-15; Mk 14:12-16, 22-26)
Today the church celebrates “Corpus Christi” the Body of Christ, the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
When Our Lord was to leave the world He gave not only His blessing, His gifts but a way of remaining with us. He did this through the Eucharist. This is a great sacrament and we might consider it under various aspects: as Sacramental, Communion, or the term used by the Church: the Real Presence. It is the Heart of the Mystery of the Eucharist. We do not have in the Eucharist a “symbolic presence,” or a mere memorial but the Presence of Christ. The sanctuary lamp burns continuously to remind us that this is God’s House and that Jesus Christ - the Lord - is here, present among us therefore with the same concern, compassion, love and Power described in the today’s gospel about the feeding of the multitude.
Christ is present to us here - and if we want to become like Him then we must be present to Him. The Saints have understood this and so the Eucharist was the center of their spiritual life:
St. Elizabeth Seton: Two things bought her into the Catholic Church - the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Mother.
St. Thomas Aquinas: When he had a great problem to solve, he would leave his books behind and go to the chapel. He said he learned more on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament in five minutes than hours in the library.
St. Vincent de Paul: He opened letters in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament asking the Eucharist Lord for solution to people’s problems.
Bl. Mother Theresa: Morning Mass gives us the courage to go among the poorest. Her great delight was to have a Holy Hour with Benediction at the end of a day working with the dying, with lepers, Refreshed and reminded her and the sisters that they belonged to God and God belonged to them.
One could go on and on with examples but as Mons. Ronald Knox wrote: “For the most part Our Lord’s closest friends have not been learned people who know how to argue religion but simple people who know how to live it!
Their lives teach us the need for respect and devotion to Christ present in the Eucharist --- and the transforming power of the Eucharist consciously and worthily received!
– Fr. Seraphin Conley, T.O.R.