The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Fr Steve spoke about what life in Christ  through the Eucharist calls us to. As we gather we are called to  love all others as Jesus loves. We go forth into the world carrying this love caring for those in our personal lives and in our world.

Is not the cup of blessing we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?  And is not the bread we break a sharing in the body of Christ?  I Cor 10:16

 Saint Paul is very upset with the Corinthians because some of them think the sharing in the Eucharist is just about having a good time - they are not conscious of what it is calling them towards - ultimately life in Christ.  This life in Christ will necessarily impact their behavior and their vision.  While they gathered for a meal - some of the early Christian community from Corinth had abundance, while some went without.  St. Paul is saying to the Corinthians, "You are not living the Eucharist."  When we live in Christ, we are called to be one Body in Christ. 

We are called to be Eucharist - we.   This celebration for which we gather week after week is not only about changing the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, but it is about changing us into his Body and Blood.  The Eucharist for which we gather is action - we must bring it out of our world into our homes, into the streets, into the places we work and play.  We are called to bring Christ into the world.  In other words, we are called to love all others as Jesus loves.     

Corpus Christi, the body and blood of Christ, is the marriage of God with us.  This union took place not only in the incarnation, which we celebrate at Christmas; it is reenacted each time we celebrate Eucharist, whereby God in Jesus Christ is made one with our very flesh, the living sign that God is with us and for us now and always.  I am the living bread come down from heaven.  Whoever eats this bread shall live forever; the bread I give is my flesh for the life of the world.  For Christians there can be no life, if their life is not in Christ.  I hope we often ask ourselves this question:  Is there anything that is required of us to call ourselves Catholic, Christian?  There is.  You know it and I know it.

The importance of diversity and the evils of racism have been at the forefront of the news not only on our own country but throughout the world.  In conversations with others, I continue to fall back on the most basic principle of the church’s stance on issues of justice.  And the first principle is this: The dignity of the human person is the ethical foundation of a moral society.  The measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.   Every human person is created in the image and likeness of our God.  When racism and prejudice is lived and practiced, this basic principle of our faith is clearly violated.  Jesus and the gospel call us to so much more. 

When John Kavenaugh, a Jesuit priest and philosopher whom I admired so much, was a young priest.  He was invited to Mother Theresa’s community in Calcutta to preside at Eucharist and experience their ministry.  He was jacked ……I get to preside at Mass with Mother Theresa.  His self-admiration diminished when he saw how much Mother Theresa appreciated the gift of Holy Communion and how she gazed at the Consecrated Host as she received Holy Communion.  It was a look of love and devotion.  Fr. Kavenaugh mentioned that the only other time he saw that look on Mother Theresa’s face was when she was caring for a dying man on the streets of Calcutta.  Mother Theresa got it!  She knew the real presence of Jesus in the gift of Holy Communion in the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ.  And she also knew the real presence of Christ in the broken and beaten human beings – the least among us.  As brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, we are called to the same vision.  There was no prejudicial bone in her because she was one with the Lord.

I would like to close with two quotes of Mother Teresa on the Eucharist:

If we truly understand the Eucharist; if we make the Eucharist the central focus of our lives; if we feed our lives with the Eucharist, we will not find it difficult to discover Christ, to love him, and to serve him in the poor. 

 To those who say they admire my courage, I have to tell them that I would not have any if I were not convinced that each time I touch the body of a leper, a body that reeks with a foul stench, I touch Christ’s body, the same Christ I receive in the Eucharist.

Yes, the Eucharist for which we gather each Sunday should mold and shape us into the very presence of Christ.  Because the Eucharist is about changing you and me so we can say with St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, it is Christ who is living in me.”