The Feast of Corpus Christi
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy A8:2-3, 14B-16A; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58
The feast of Corpus Christi is a celebration of the Incarnation of Divine Love, the unending eagerness of the divine to enter into our world, our lives, and our hearts. In the Eucharistic sacrament we celebrate today, the simplest human food, bread and wine, transforms those who eat it, into the Body of Christ. The Eucharist gives us the gift it signifies, the risen Jesus alive again in our midst.
The Corpus Christi readings remind us of Jesus’ offering of His Body and Blood which serves in the Church as a lasting memorial of His saving death for us. We renew Jesus’ covenant by participating in the banquet of His Body and Blood, a banquet that through His death gives us life.
In the first reading for this feast, the Israelites are reminded to remember how God led them through the wilderness and provided for them. This is a warning against forgetting God’s goodness and becoming prideful in our own abilities and possessions. We are called to recognize that all we have comes from God and we must be grateful for His provision. It is a call to focus on spiritual rather than material things.
The passage in the second reading describes the Eucharist, where Christians partake of the bread and wine that are the body and blood of Christ. The passage emphasizes that partaking in the sacrament creates a spiritual unity or communion among believers, as they are all partaking in the one body of Christ. The bread and wine are not merely symbols, but are the body and blood of Christ. This belief is foundational to our faith, and is a reminder of the depth of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
The Gospel reading from John emphasizes the necessity of consuming the body and blood of Christ for eternal life. Jesus teaches that His flesh and blood are true food and drink and those who eat and drink them will abide in Him and have eternal life. It is a reminder of the importance of receiving the sacrament for our spiritual nourishment and growth.
By receiving the Eucharist we become Christ – bearers as Mary was, with the responsibility of conveying Christ to others as love, mercy, forgiveness, and sacrificial service. As we celebrate this great gift of faith, let us worship what St. Thomas Aquinas called, “the greatest miracle that Christ ever worked on earth…My Body …My Blood.”
Ponder the depth of your faith in the Eucharist, strive to renew it, worshiping God as one who believes with your whole being.
Sr. Margaret Flood, OP