The Most Sacred Body and Blood of Christ ~ Solemnity, 19 June 2022 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: Genesis14: 18-20; Responsorial: Psalm 110; II: I Corinthians 11: 23-26; Gospel: Luke 9: 1 – 17
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today also brings the start of the National Eucharistic Revival. This will be a year-plus long celebration and mission to nurture a deep revival within the Church of the faith and realization of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This mission will culminate in a Eucharistic Congress to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 17 – 21, 2024. The need for this renewal is evidenced by the weariness and wounds so deeply present among the faithful and among those seeing their faith weaken or becoming dormant. We all need to pray and devote ourselves to this opportunity and need of God’s holy grace found, truly in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ Present in the consecrated Host and Sacred Blood.
True, deep, heartfelt reverence and faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is urgently needed in Catholics. This same faith and awareness is also longed for, by God, for all Christians. The lack of devotion, prayer and reverence for Jesus, for God, is a wound many parishes face. It is a reality that even the most faithful must confess and seek the mercy of God to heal. The moment in the Liturgy of the Eucharist when the Holy Spirit is invoked to change the simple bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Christ, known as the epiclesis, is a moment of profound holy grace in our worship of God.
This holy moment culminates in the Eucharistic Prayer, after the elevation of Jesus’s Sacred Body and the Chalice with His Blood at the great doxology the brings us to the Rite of Holy Communion. Those few words so clearly express the purpose and power of Jesus as he calls us each, and together, to receive Him and:
Through him, and with him and in him,
O God, almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
for ever and ever. Amen.
These Words, rooted in the prayer of Jesus from the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John challenge us each to ask what, or more accurately WHO dwells in our Tabernacle, in our parish? And in our heart?
There is much being said in the Church about the Eucharist. Many lament (with legitimacy) the lack of true faith and reverence for Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Many are concerned with the reverent and faithful receiving of the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion. The referring to the words of St. Paul from our epistle today calls us to know we need to receive Jesus worthily! And to do so with great, mortal sin, is wrong in the deepest of ways. This has caused ,some to form what would essentially be the Communion police. Looking for and deciding who among us should not be given Communion at Mass. This has developed into a great debate that has caused much bitter fruit of division and strife. This sorrow would be resolved if, when, we heed the Holy Spirit inspired words of St. Paul to the church struggling with many problems. The context of our epistle today teaches, clearly that each of us is indeed called to examine…ourself! The judging and policing of others is a matter of great importance. It is something to which we would do well to follow the example and words of Christ Himself on the night He gave us His Holy Body and Blood, when the Lord’s Supper was given. That first Eucharist was a gathering of the disciples of our Lord who were, spiritually, in their faith mostly confused, doubting and afraid. None present are shown as having a full and perfect acceptance of the teachings and Truth about Jesus. Of the Apostles of Christ one would soon betray Him to death. All the other, except one would flee and deny Him in His Passion. But Jesus gave them each Holy Communion. Jesus knew the strength they would need. Jesus alone knew their hearts. And His love for them.
This brings us back to the Eucharistic Revival so needed in the Church. Our faith, our realization of the Real Presence of Jesus, of God is so needed. Great is the call of God, of the holy angels and saints to awaken to WHO is in the Tabernacle, WHO it is we are called to receive in Communion. But this revival of our faith must include a full and growing awakening. To simply affirm or deepen an old catechism or some devout practices or pious prayers, to plunge into liturgies of the past without accepting God is the great “I AM” of the Present would be to deny a growing faith in Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. We must allow that God brings us to grow beyond our perceptions of language, dress and liturgical practices. He calls us each, together to grow with Him, in Him and through Him.
This brings us to a necessity that some may ignore or defer in our needed Eucharistic Revival. To believe and realize God’s Real Presence, not only in the consecrated Host but also in His people. We are called by God to revere and celebrate His Body and Blood, in the Eucharistic Meal and holy Tabernacle. And, in His living tabernacles and temples, His Body, the entire people of God. It is as we receive and grow in Christ, through the Eucharist we grow in the Truth of who it is God created and redeemed us to be. This shared journey is a common-union the disciples of Jesus are called to share. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his epistle, Sacrament of Charity [Sacramentum Caritatis]:
“In the sacrament of the altar, the Lord meets us, men and women created in God’s image
and likeness (cf. Genesis 1:27), and becomes our companion along the way. In this
sacrament, the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and
freedom. Since only the truth can make us free (cf. John 8:32), Christ becomes for us the
food of truth.”
-Pope Benedict XVI (Sacrament of Charity, 2007)
God meets us, at His holy altar, to Him, to where we need to be. It is there we truly discover the eternal passion of God’s love, where we discover and experience true and full Eucharistic Revival.