The solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), which the Church celebrates today reminds us all of the wonderful gift of God to us through Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. While the primary focus of this solemnity is on the spiritual nourishment that Christ gives us, its secondary focus is on the Body of Christ which is the Church.
The Body and Blood of Christ (the Eucharist), is the most excellent gift ever given to us by Christ. It also shows how much God loves and cares for both our temporal and spiritual welfare. Therefore, what we celebrate today is the sacramental presence of Christ in his Church.
Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Today, virtually all the readings touched one issue – giving or offering something. The first reading succinctly tells us that: “Abram offered Melchizedek a tithe of everything.” He did not give it with the intention of receiving something in return. Rather, he did it out of his own free will. Of course, Melchizedek blessed him, and offered thanks to God on his behalf with bread and wine. These were offerings of one’s self in the form of material items. In fact, Abram is a specialist in self-donation (cf. Gen 22:1-18).
Today as ever before, Christ offers himself sacramentally to us. This is simply a way of expressing his unconditional love for us. He commands us: “Do this in memory of me!” Hence the church teaches us: “The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words until he comes does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ (CCC 1341).
So, when we re-live the experience, we truly eat His Body and drink His Blood. Also, at another level, “Do this in memory of me,” positions us to be ready to offer ourselves completely, and for the salvation of others as Christ did for our own salvation. So, when we re-live this experience, we are nourished spiritually for the purpose of offering ourselves too to, and for others.
“For us who have been fed with the Body and Blood of Christ, we are not being asked to give what we do not have.”
In the gospel, Jesus says to Andrew and his colleagues: “Give them something to eat!” Today also, Christ is asking us to offer something. For us who have been fed with the Body and Blood of Christ, we are not being asked to give what we do not have. Although, we live in a “highly religious world”, there are many who are yet to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ.
So, when we draw them closer to Christ, we bring them to the banquet table of Christ who feeds and nourishes them with His body and blood. Therefore, we must be hospitable enough to help the weak, the spiritually hungry and thirsty to participate in the great feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Finally, what Christ offers us is His real body and blood, real food and real drink which is the mystery and core of our faith. In the Holy Eucharist, Christ draws us closer to himself. Christ is present with us in the Holy Eucharist as the head of the Church. So, today’s celebration provides us an opportunity to thank and adore Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
– Fr. Canice Njoku Cssp