FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI
Today’s Solemnity of The Body and Blood of Christ follows the Solemnities of Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost, and the Holy Trinity. Its placement at the conclusion of this sequence of solemnities reflects its importance.The fact that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus is of supreme importance.
The fact that you receive the true Body and the true Blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion is likewise of supreme importance because in receiving it you and I are receiving the permanent and irrevocable gift of God himself , not in a merely symbolic gesture but in actual fact.
God is love. Over and over again in the Old and New Testaments the bible tells us that. The very book of the bible tells of the Garden of Eden and God’s desire to “walk with,” be close to, Adam and Eve.
Love seeks union and closeness with the beloved. It is unconquerable. Even after Adam and Eve sinned against God’s love, He came right back and promised that their descendants would have an eventual reunion with Him. That’s what Holy Communion is all about. Jesus becomes human body and blood in order to be intimate with us once again, intimate at an unimaginable level.
Our first experience of love comes in the moments just after we are born, those moments when we are cradled and nursed in the arms of our mothers. From those moments forward our lives and behaviors are shaped by love or misshaped by the absence of love. So also is the importance of love in our understanding of and in our relationship with God. The fact that God Himself is Love and that He made us both to receive His love and to love Him in return is of the utmost importance. Truly our lives here on earth and our lives after death revolve around love and our experience or non-experience of love. If what I have just said is true, then it would be necessary that God would present Himself to us in our humanity. That is what today’s Mass is all about: God’s gift of Himself to us in His human Body and Blood. When you stop and think about it, lovers have within them a drive to give themselves to those they love. This is a main characteristic of God. He is a self-giving God, a self-emptying God, that comes to us in powerlessness and vulnerability.
St. John’s gospel highlights the importance of God’s love. The very first miracle of Jesus took place at a wedding, in Cana, when at the request of His mother he changed water into wine. At the beginning of his gospel, St. John tells us: “They have no wine…”; “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come…”; “Do whatever he tells you…”; “Fill the jars with water and they filled them up to the brim…”; “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now”; “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. Then at the end of His life when His hour did come, we find Jesus at the Last Supper miraculously changing wine into His Body and Blood. St. John in the book of Revelation, refers to the Last Supper as “The wedding feast of the Lamb.” In St. John’s mind the two wedding feasts mark the beginning and then the end of Jesus’ life among us as our Savior. The wedding feast at Cana foreshadows God’s marriage to us in the new and everlasting covenant, and this is fulfilled at the Last Supper; the Wedding Feast of the Lamb; in the Body and Blood of the God-man, Jesus Christ.
There are those who deny that the Holy Communion we receive at Mass is truly the Body and Blood of Christ. In their denial they are divorcing themselves from the miraculous gift of Jesus to us. What a terrible loss they are inflicting on themselves. How sad that is!
With hearts filled with gratitude and wonder, let you and I now receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ with hearts filled with love, love for the God who has married himself to us and promised to be with us forever…….+JMJ………………………………………………………………………………….…Fr. Bob