Good morning… Bread as food is the most basic sustenance. Bread satisfies hunger, provides nourishment, and maintains life. Bread is a sign of human well being and divine blessing. Indeed, we need food for our body to live. But as Christians, we also need another kind of food, that for our souls.
When Jesus calls himself the Living Bread, he is really inviting us to make him our food. He is the “Living Bread come down from Heaven.” He is the one, the only one, who can completely satisfy our hunger, our most ardent longings. He gives us strength and sustains our spiritual and moral life.
This Sunday we celebrate the feast of “Corpus Christi,” a Latin term which means literally “Body of Christ.” This Body of Christ or food for the soul is what we receive in the Holy Eucharist.
The two, last, precious gifts given to us by Jesus before he died are the Holy Eucharist as our spiritual Food and Drink on Holy Thursday and Jesus’ mother Mary as our mother on Good Friday. Corpus Christi is the celebration of the abiding presence of the loving God as Emmanuel –God-with-us. This feast gives us an occasion to learn more about the importance and value of Jesus’ “Real Presence,” so that we may appreciate the Sacrament better and receive maximum benefit from receiving Jesus in Holy Communion.
Now we heard again, the familiar word “real presence“: This Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist derives from the promise of Christ to give us his Body and Blood for our spiritual food and drink, as found in the gospel St. John, Chapter 6. Eucharistic theologians explain the Real Presence by a process called transubstantiation, which always happens during the mass: the entire substance of bread and wine is changed into the entire substance of the risen and glorified Body and Blood of Christ. Can there be a religion in which God is closer to man than our Catholic religion?
Thus, the Council of Trent declared and I quote, “The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of the God-man are really, truly, substantially, and abidingly present together with His soul and Divinity by reason of the Transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. This takes place in the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass. ”
Why Jesus instituted the Eucharist in this way?A close reading of the whole Eucharistic discourse in the Gospel of John tells us that there are two main reasons Jesus instituted this sacrament during the Last Supper.
First, Jesus wanted to offer a visible sign of Himself being present to us and us being present to him. In order to highlight his relationship with us in the Eucharist, Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. ” (Jn 6: 56) These words of Jesus are in line with His promise to be with humanity until the end of time. (Mt 28: 20)
Second, Jesus sought to provide an effective means of communicating life to us so that we can be fully alive both in this world and in the next. He said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.” (Jn 6: 53-54) Jesus instituted the Eucharist not just to sustain our physical hunger but so that we may have life and have it to the full. (Jn 20: 20)
In a more deeper spiritual sense, the Holy Eucharist is truly different from every other food and drink. We transform ordinary food into our own bodies , the food we eat becomes our blood and flesh but the food of the Eucharist transforms us into the body of Christ. We become spiritually nourished and morally cleaned.
On this Sunday of Corpus Christi, as we affirm our faith in the real presence of the risen Lord in the Eucharistic species of bread and wine, let us approach the Eucharist with a more lively faith in the real presence of Jesus in communion and we shall experience therein God’s saving power and transforming love.
I was inspired and I like this words of Dr. Scott Hahn, (a writer and a Professor of Theology and Scripture and the Director of the Institute of Applied Biblical Studies) he said, “When we go to Mass every Sunday, we go to Heaven. And this is true of every Mass we attend, regardless of the quality of the music or the eagerness of the preacher. The Mass –and I mean every single Mass –is Heaven on earth. ”
Brothers and sisters, on this Corpus Christi Sunday celebrated within the limitation set by the pandemic, may we have the abiding presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic, he is always near us and never distant. Happy Feast Day!