Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Dt. 8: 2-3, 14b-16a; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; John 6: 51-58
“I am the Living Bread…”
Jesus’ right arm encircled her,
hemming her in.
“You-Are-Mine,” he said,
“tell me what you need.”
If you please, Sir,
she said, “give me bread like this always.”
“Those who follow me
never go hungry,”
He answered her, smiling.
“I am Living Bread.”
This feast which we celebrate today used to be called Corpus Christi, Latin for the Body of Christ. It dates back to the 13th century, when for many historical reasons, believers went from altar to altar to look at the consecrated host. These believers became so wrapped up in gazing on the Body of Christ that they stopped receiving the Body of Christ.
At the beginning of the last century, the practice of frequent communion was reintroduced into our Church. Then came the reforms of the Second Vatican Council that invited us not just to look at the Body of Christ, but to receive and become the Body of Christ. St. Augustine, the 4th century theologian, wrote about the Eucharist, “Behold what you are; become what you receive.”
What does that mean? How do we become the Body of Christ that we have received? Do we even believe it is possible? Bread symbolizes Jesus: nourishing, satisfying, available to all. Can we be changed and given in love for others? Can we see each other as sisters and brothers? Do we bring our presence to those who are lonely, sick, and suffering? Do we offer a word of consolation to those grieving?
This Sunday we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us, his great act of “being broken,” of giving himself over in love. We are called to do the same!
Sr. Mary Ann Collins, OP