This week we celebrate Corpus Christi, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
I can’t quite remember where I saw it, but I once read that the early Church considered the Eucharist the mystical Body of Christ while it thought of the community of Jesus’ faithful followers as simply the Body of Christ. In the Church today we are more likely to reverse these designations: the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, and the Church is the mystical Body of Christ.
That said, I’m not sure that the debate related to the use of these terms matters. What does matter, however, is the closeness of the connection between the Eucharist and the community of Jesus’ faithful followers that makes the debate possible!
That Jesus’ faithful followers can be identified with the Eucharist is marvelous. It also just makes a lot of sense.
The Council of Trent decreed that “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Simply put, when Jesus said, “this is my body, which will be given up for you,” he meant it.
Hold that together with the fact that Jesus identifies as his faithful followers. In Saint Paul’s encounter with Jesus – risen from the dead – on the Damascus road Jesus asks him, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
This is food for thought (pun intended). How about some more? The Eucharist is the food for Jesus’ faithful followers, animating them to live and share Jesus’ life now. The Eucharist is our participation in Christ. The Eucharist sustains us as members of the Body of Christ. The Eucharist makes us – changes us into – Christ.
There’s more to say, and think, and pray through as it relates to this feast, but I’ll leave that to you. Let me know if you come up with anything I missed!
PS Join us for the Feast of OLMC, July 14! It will feature a procession after Mass with a gathering in the school gym for our annual pot-luck lunch.