The feast we celebrate today is known by its Latin name as ‘Corpus Christi’, or in English the ‘Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ’.
Like so much on the liturgical calendar it is a focus on something that is celebrated often. The focus of this Feast is on the amazing mystery of the Eucharist.
Right from the very beginning of the of the Church, about 2000 years ago, the Christian community believes that in the Eucharist is celebrated an amazing mystery. The celebrant lays hands over the bread and wine during the Eucharistic prayer and invokes the Holy Spirit“ by the same spirit graciously make holy these gifts we have brought to for consecration” and then he says “that they may become the Body and Blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ”. Then the priest says the words of consecration over them.
The Catholic Church has always believed, together with all the ancient churches; Orthodox, Coptic, other Eastern Churches, that the bread and wine becomes the sacramental reality of Jesus among us. Jesus said at the last supper “do this in memory of Me!” Yes, we remember Jesus who gave us this gift on the night before He died. The remembering that happens in the Eucharist is a special type of remembering. It is a remembering that brings about the reality that is being remembered!
We are caught up in the total giving by Jesus of Himself to the Father in absolute trust. It is also giving of Himself for us and to us.
Take and eat He says. Food is nourishment, food gives life and food becomes part of us. Jesus in the Eucharist comes to us as food, He is our nourishment and He gives us life. In this amazing mystery we also are transformed more and more into a oneness of deep love with Him. Wine is about celebration. The shedding of His blood in love, leads to our freedom and healing, and leads us into the celebration of life eternal, the great feast promised by Jesus in the life to come, that is everlasting life!
We who are many receive the one Jesus and become through Him ever more one. So the Eucharist is a reminder in a special tangible sacramental manner of what is meant to be happening every day in our lives. It is about union with Christ, and in in Him and through Him living full lives at every moment. It is about union with each other through Christ. It is about us being transformed and healed. Just as the bread and wine change, we can change.
Every Sunday Christians for 2000 years have gathered to hear the scriptures read and explained and to receive the Eucharist. This Sacrament connects with the death and resurrection of Christ, and reminds us to look forward to a fuller union with Him in the life to come. Yet actually connecting with the hope of that promise now. Then we are sent forth to live these mysteries ‘out there’ and minister in love to all.
I need these reminders, this powerhouse, this energy we call the Eucharist. It is about empowerment, intimacy, nurture and healing, as well as celebration. It is also about service and love of all!