My dear brothers and sisters, as we enter month four of this pandemic, do you find yourself spiritually hungry? If there is one good thing that has come out of our social isolation, it is the discovery of how much we hunger for the sustenance of the Eucharist. And, yes, next week our long hunger will end with our return to public Masses starting on Wednesday. Hallelujah!
Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ or Corpus Christi, its Latin name. This is the day set aside to celebrate the source and summit of our faith, the most Holy Eucharist. Corpus Christi is the celebration of the abiding presence of the loving God as Emmanuel, God-with-us. We give a collective thanks to our Lord living with us in the Eucharist.
Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist both as a sacramental banquet and a sacrificial offering. On Holy Thursday, Jesus took everyday bread and wine and transformed them into food and drink that will last, His own body and blood. Jesus commanded His disciples to repeat this rite in his memory, “to do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19).
As a sacrament, the Eucharist is a visible sign that gives us God’s grace and God’s life and as a meal it nourishes our souls. We receive the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Jesus desires to feed us with His very self so that we will have the wherewithal to continue to follow Him as He leads us to the place He has prepared for us.
As a sacrifice, the Eucharistic celebration is a re-presentation or a re-enactment of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, completed in His Resurrection. When we gather as a faith community, we are called to remember and make present again His saving events of giving of Himself totally to us and for us.
At every Mass we commemorate what took place on Holy Thursday and the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The substance of the offered bread and wine is changed by consecration to the substance of the risen Jesus’ glorified, body and blood by the action of the Holy Spirit. We call this “transubstantiation” and the result is spiritual food and drink for our life and for our very soul.
With Masses resuming next week, I will once again be able to offer you the Blessed Sacrament to satisfy your spiritual hunger. When this happy day occurs, let us appreciate the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, by receiving him with true repentance for our sins, due preparation, and reverence. And let us continue to be Christ-bearers and Christ-conveyers with the duty of conveying Christ to others, at home and in the workplace, through love, mercy, forgiveness, and humble and sacrificial service.
God bless you folks. Father Gerard