SOLEMNITY OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST
(White) Cycle A/Year I (June 18, 2017)
Dt 8:2-3, 14-16/1 Cor 10:16-17/Jn 6:51-58
It is a sad reality that many of Catholic believers do not have genuine faith in the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the form of the consecrated host and wine. Some take and receive the Holy Communion but do not really believe that it is the body of Christ that they are eating. Such lack of faith is manifested in their attitude and posture when they attend the Holy Mass especially during the parts of consecration and of Holy Communion. The lack of reverence and devotion to the Holy Eucharist reveals the lack of faith in the real presence of Christ in the said Holy Eucharist.
In the gospel for this Sunday, Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). Jesus Christ is the Son of God and therefore He is God. God can never fool Himself for He is the Truth. When Jesus said that the bread that He would give would be His very flesh, He really meant it. It is indeed the flesh or body of Christ that we receive in the Holy Communion. The change happens during the consecration when the host or bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine becomes the blood of Christ through the prayer of the priest. The change or transformation is called transubstantiation because it is only the substance of the bread that is changed and not its form. That is why we see, feel and taste the form of the bread but what we receive and eat during the Holy Communion is already the body of Christ. This is possible only through our faith. The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament of faith. Consequently, only those who have faith in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Communion can receive it; those who do not have faith in it, must not receive it. Otherwise, it would result to desecration rather than to adoration.
Certainly, we have to eat the body of Christ as Jesus said: “whoever eats this bread will live forever.” It is by means of receiving the Holy Communion that we do not only complete the assistance to the Holy Eucharist but also unite ourselves with Jesus Christ. We need to unite ourselves with the humanity of Jesus by eating His body because when we do it, we also unite ourselves with His divinity. It is through Jesus’ humanity that we encounter Jesus’ divinity. United with the Divine Jesus, the Son of God, we become one with the author of life and salvation. The key towards salvation and eternal life is Jesus because He is the Way. The words of the gospel for this Sunday remind us of the solemn teaching of Jesus that we need to receive Him with faith in the Holy Communion for us to acquire eternal salvation.
This Sunday, we celebrate the solemnity of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) in the Catholic Church around the world. In the parishes, we have the tradition of the sacred procession of the exposed Body of Christ during which the faithful are given the opportunity to manifest their utmost respect, faith and devotion to the processed Body of Christ. As Catholics, we must give importance to the Body of Christ because it is our food for the soul. This spiritual food is our means to become united with Christ and the Triune God who is the source and the fullness of our life.