The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

corpus-christi

holly-eucharistGospel Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

WE RECEIVE CHRIST TO BECOME ANOTHER CHRIST!

The reconciling sacrifice that the Lord Jesus offered on the Altar of the Cross is made present every time we celebrate the Eucharist. Thus, when we go to Mass we are witnessing this unprecedented miracle of Divine Love. When the priest, in name of Christ, pronounces the words that Christ himself pronounced on the night of the Last Supper, “Take and eat, this is my body…this is my blood”, the bread and wine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, become the Body and Blood of Christ.

Though not perceived by our senses, the Lord Jesus truly becomes present under the veil of the Eucharistic species. Even after the consecration, we continue seeing and perceiving mere bread and wine, but by faith we know that it has truly seized to be bread and wine. The sacrament “truly, really, and substantially contains the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Council of Trent, DS 1651). A miracle of love! A mystery of faith! God becomes present among his people, the Church!

Now, if this is true and we believe it, let us pose a difficult question that certainly might be asked by those who do not believe:

“If you stand by your claim that the consecrated bread at Mass is God-made-man who died and resurrected, and that Christ is really present, Body and Blood–why doesn’t your life look any different from ours? You go to Mass on Sunday and receive communion, but in your daily life you bow before money, pleasure, vanity, power, etc. You get impatient with the smallest inconvenience and you treat others with little respect. You start conflicts and hold grudges. You keep a list of those who offend you. You close your heart to your brothers and sisters. You insult those who are trying to follow the Lord as “religious fanatics”… Why does you life reflect so poorly your beliefs? Why should we believe you’re claim that God is in the Host when your actions say otherwise?”

If I believe that the Lord is really present in the Eucharist, that I really receive Him during Communion, how can I continue living the same life? Isn’t there something wrong with receiving communion and then yelling at the first person I come across? Isn’t there something wrong if I continuing holding resentments against offenses from long-ago, if I continue stealing, gossiping, lusting, lying, etc? The encounter with the Lord in the Eucharist—when it is authentic—brings about a slow, but steady change. An inner transformation is set into motion that sanctifies us and conforms us ever more closely to the Lord Jesus, in our thoughts, feelings, and attitude, and in the charity we live each day. In one word, to receive communion with deep faith “Christifies” us.

If I acknowledge that the Lord is really present in the Eucharist, I should put all my effort into imitating Him in my daily behavior by the grace given through the Sacrament. My actions should reflect the One whom I adore, whom I love, and whom I receive in Holy Communion. This testimony is what will lead others to believe in the Lord and in His real presence in the Eucharist; only through this will others open the doors of their hearts to the Lord and be touched and transformed by His love!

CONCRETE MEANS

1. Communion is not to be taken lightly! It is not just any wafer that you are receiving; it is CHRIST HIMSELF who you are receiving, His Body and Blood! Never receive Holy Communion if you are not properly disposed! This implies that you make an examination of conscience. If you are aware of having committed a grave sin since your last confession, you must go to confession before Mass. If after a careful examination you do not find a serious sin, you can receive Holy Communion. Remember, in the penitential act that we make at the beginning of the Mass, “I confess…”, we receive forgiveness from our venial sins (not the serious ones) so that we can receive the Lord in the Eucharist with a clean heart.

2. Being prepared also implies keeping silence in our hearts before (from the moment of consecration) and after receiving communion and praying attentively. Kneel at the right moments. Kneeling produces an attitude of adoration toward the Lord, who becomes present among us. This posture helps us to pray more intensity and to present ourselves humbly before the Lord, truly present in the consecrated bread and wine. When you receive Holy Communion, ask that the Lord transform and strengthen you, that you might be able to change in you to all that has to be changed, and that you might accept all the love that He wants to pour into your heart in order for you to reflect Him in your thoughts, words, and actions. After receiving Him, kneel again in your place, remain in deep silence and talk to the Lord in your heart. First, thank God with all your heart for offering His Son, for the sacrifice He made for your sake, and for receiving His Body and Blood. Secondly, tell the Lord how  much you love Him, ask Him to increase your love for Him and to be able to reciprocate with tangible gestures in your daily life. Thirdly, think about a virtue that you want to live this week, a specific means of living it, and commit to giving all of your efforts to make it happen. Ask Him for the strength and grace you need.

Let’s be SAINTS!!!!

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