This is My Body
This Sunday we celebrate Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Feast reinforces what the Church teaches about the Eucharist, especially the reality of transubstantiation: that Jesus' words, "This is my Body... This is my Blood...," change bread and wine into his Body and Blood.
And so, Jesus is present whole and entire - body, blood, soul, and divinity - in the Eucharist.
When we receive Holy Communion - whether we only eat the sacred host (or any tiny piece thereof), or only drink from the chalice (or any small drop therefrom), or we both eat and drink - what we receive in the Eucharist is nothing more and nothing less than the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of our risen Lord in its entirety.
This truth and more is contained in the great hymn of Saint Thomas Aquinas composed for the Feast of Corpus Christi at the request of Pope Urban IV. Check it out here in anticipation of hearing it again on Sunday:
So, that's the skinny on the what of the Eucharist, but what can we say about the why of the Most Blessed Sacrament?
Saint Augustine, I think, said it best. Preaching in the 4th and 5th centuries, he reflected on "one of the deep truths of Christian faith: through our participation in the sacraments (particularly baptism and Eucharist), we are transformed into the Body of Christ, given for the world."
The point is that every time we receive the Body of Christ, we are transformed - or should be transformed - a little more fully into what we receive, so that the divine love that flows into us in the Sacrament might flow through us into the world.
Here's to our being and becoming the Body of Christ! What a tremendous gift... what a tremendous calling!
In the Peace of Christ our Head,
δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
PS Want more on the Real Presence? Check out this collection of teachings from the Fathers of the Church (dating back to 90AD) on the Eucharist.
Preparing for Mass?
Check out this weekend's readings: