Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Gn 14:18-20 1 Cor 11: 23-26 Lk 9: 11B-17
Christianity is not a concept or even a “religion.” It is a Person, one in Whom we can confidently entrust our very lives. It is the patient and humble logic of the grain of wheat that is broken to give life, of the grape that becomes the living blood of the risen Christ, the logic of faith that moves mountains with the gentle power of God. ”Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat.” But if that grain dies to self, in order that it may multiply and be bread for the hungry, the despairing, the hopeless, it becomes a transformed entity, that itself breathes life.
“This,” said Pope Benedict, “is why God wants to continue to renew humanity, history, and the cosmos, through this chain of transformations, of clear and distinct moments of evolutionary consciousness, of which Eucharist is the Sacrament. Through the consecrated bread and wine, in which His Body and Blood is truly present, Christ transforms us, assimilating us in Him.” We do indeed, “become Whom we eat.” This transformation, this evolution, is possible, because it is communal, a unique communion fulfilled in the act of eating and drinking the Person of Eucharist, Jesus, the Christ. In this encounter, our individuality is opened up, freed from its self-centeredness and placed in the Person of Jesus. This Eucharistic Presence binds me to the rest of creation, notably to those who are suffering, who are part of the unity of the human family, who, regardless of circumstance, are themselves simple grains of wheat who long for the assurance that the love of God is stronger than evil or death. “Behold, I am doing something new; can you not perceive it?” I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” These are powerful reminders that the Presence of ‘God is paramount in our lives and in our world.
Jesus speaks in silence in the Mystery of the Eucharist and reminds us that to follow Him means to make of our life an instrument of peace and healing and forgiveness, a gift to the world given freely, without cost. The Eucharist assures us that we will not be torn or separated from Christ as is acknowledged through failure, through the fragility of finite lives; it is the bond of communion, the fulfillment of the Covenant, a living sign of the love of Christ who humbled and annihilated Himself for us. Those who recognize the Christ in Eucharist cannot deny His mandate to actively share that love in order to build a cohesive and just society, especially in this age of globalization.
When Jesus said: This is My Body which is given to you; this is My Blood shed for you,” what happened? Jesus, in that gesture, anticipated Calvary. He accepts His passion with its brutality, its anguish and violence, even to its horrific death on the tree of life. This is the transformation that the world needs most, because it is self-less and redemptive.
The real end of our journeying is communion with God, for God Himself is the house of many rooms. But we can only ascend to the room destined for ourselves by faithfully walking “to Galilee,” walking on the roads of the world, preaching the Gospel, whether convenient or inconvenient, multiplying God’s love by every act of kindness and compassion. The Risen One, present in the form of bread, cannot be “eaten” as a simple piece of bread nor can it be consumed by a simple draft of wine. To eat this bread and drink this blood is to enter into communion with the Person of the living God; it is to allow oneself to be penetrated by the life of the Christ, Creator and Redeemer. My life is assimilated into His, and thus I undergo a transformation into a living, breathing, incomparable assurance of Love Personified. This is Corpus Christi, manifest in our midst!
Sister Anne Daniel, Young O.P