Corpus Christi 

Corpus Christi Sunday


Today’s great feast celebrates the presence of Jesus among us in the Eucharist, in the appearance of bread and wine. How is it possible, nearly two thousand years after his death, that he is with us in this way? How do we know it is him?

When Jesus rose from the dead, he was the same as before, but different. When He appeared to his disciples, He talked, ate, walked, taught and worked miracles. After He gave them the Holy Spirit and handed over his mission to them, he ascended to his Father.

It is this risen Lord, unconstrained by the ordinary laws of nature, who is present in the Eucharist, to nourish and save his people. If we do not immediately recognize him, we are in good company: Mary Magdalene thought he was the gardener, early in the morning on the first day of the week; the disciples thought he was a ghost, until he ate a piece of grilled fish; the travelers on the road to Emmaus thought he was an ill-informed stranger, until He broke bread with them.

It is here in this last story that we have a clue as to how we will recognize him. We study the prophecies about him; we listen to his teachings about his death and resurrection; we ponder the Last Supper when He says, “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood”; and we hear his words today in St. John’s Gospel where He tells us we are to eat this flesh and drink this blood of the Son of Man –himself. Putting all this together, when we celebrate the Eucharist in his memory, we can recognize that he is truly with us, and we worship and rejoice.

Our faith helps us to see what our eyes alone cannot. Knowing he is so close to us in the Eucharist allows us to focus on not only our here and now but also our future. The Eucharist is both tangible, simply bread and wine, and intangible, the flesh and blood of the Lord, the risen Lord. This is for us comfort, consolation, hope of Divine life, a constant call to be united with each other, a challenge to be worthy of his presence, an invitation to share with others the news that he is with us.

The God who saved the chosen people in the desert is saving us through Jesus Christ his Son. The risen Lord who appeared to Saul and called him to be an apostle is still making himself known to us in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and invites us to go out in his name.

As we ponder this great mystery today, we can realize how life-transforming it can be, and how it can transform our world. This is a memory we hold, we share and we celebrate –today, on this great feast, and every time we gather around the altar in his name.

“Blessed are the hungry; they will be filled.” It is in our emptiness we are filled. It is in our confusion that we are guided. It is in our weakness that we are strengthened. It is in our sins that we are forgiven. It is in our hunger that we are fed. We believe that Jesus has a place prepared for us where all our hungers will be satisfied and all our hopes, fulfilled. This conviction makes it possible for us to travel through life with an expectant hope and with unquenchable longing in our hearts.

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