Sunday, June 22, 2014

Roman Corpus Christi

Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This great feast is the source of our grace, and through the Resurrection we see it in its true light: The Risen Lord comes to us under the guise of bread and wine, truly present in the Sacrament upon the Altar!

"'Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day. 
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him. 
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. 
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever."' -Jn 6:51-58

Do we believe the Word of the Lord? "Indeed the Word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two edged sword, penetrating to the division between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, able to discern thoughts and reflections of the heart." Heb 4:12.

God speaks to us today and presents rather bluntly the core truth of the Eucharist. Jesus proclaims the controversial statement about eating (gnawing, in the original Greek) His Flesh and drinking His Blood. He is not gentle with His presentation of this eternal truth. Yet, God gives it to us in this way because of its importance! This is the source and summit of the Catholic Life, and indeed, Christ desires it to be plain as day, even though the mysteries of the Eucharist could be meditated upon without end.

Why should we receive often? Christ died for us, and through His resurrection suffering was given meaning. Our own sufferings and sacrifices are worthless unless we unite ourselves to the Sorrowful Passion of Jesus. And, in the context of the Holy Mass, Christ's Passion is relived, not as a second Passion but as a partaking in the one sacrifice. Thus, when we go to Mass and unite our minds, hearts and wills to God, we can sanctify all of our sufferings and trials! Then, if we follow the Mass to its climax, the reception of the Eucharist into our hearts and souls, we are then transformed: Christ is living WITHIN us!

Taking this knowledge, along with the promise found at the end of the Gospel of Matthew: "I will be with you until the end of the age", we can then go and take the Risen Body and Blood and share Him, in a spiritual sense, with the world that hungers for naught but Love. This is our life: We come to the fount of Love, receive the overabundance, and in appreciation and gratitude to the Lord, we are enabled to go out and share that Love.

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