The Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ is intimately connected to Holy Thursday when Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
We are all wrapped up in the mystery of who God is and what Jesus is doing for us. Through the simple act of eating and drinking the Lord chose to make Himself present for all ages until we see Him face to face. Within the context of praise, worship and the laying on of hands of an ordained priest, the Body and Blood of Christ is made present. The Eucharist is central to who we are as Catholics. Although all of the Sacraments are important, no other Sacrament touches us so intimately as the Eucharist. On the day before He was to suffer, on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus took bread and said, “This is my Body.” Then He took the chalice and said, “Take this, all of you and drink from it, This is my Blood….do this in memory of me.” With a few words in an ancient ritual called Passover meal, Jesus changed human history. He changed the “Old Covenant” to the “New Covenant”. Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophesies, the awaited Messiah, the God who became man. Indeed, the Eucharistic Table is where God and people sit down to eat together. Imagine that at the Last Supper the Apostles were eating and drinking the Person who was going to hang on a cross the next day, get buried in a tomb, and then find them hiding behind locked doors. Of course, none of reality made any sense to them until years later. We usually do not appreciate the moment until later, that’s why we take pictures.
However, the Eucharist is much better than a picture. When we view a photograph, we use our memory to take us back, to remember the moment. In the Eucharist we are not just remembering a moment, we are in the moment. At Holy Mass we are present in the upper room when Jesus celebrated the first Eucharist and we are present in heaven with all the choirs of angels and saints who constantly sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts….Hosanna in the highest.” God is not limited by space and time. God is just as present at the first moment of creation to the culmination of the world. Since God allows us to eat and to drink Him in Holy Communion, we get a free ride. If only for a few seconds, we become what we eat and drink. We regain eternity, which is how we were created in the first place. Holy Communion reminds us that death has no more power…”For whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever.”
The Lord always keeps His promises. We are the greatest obstacles to our salvation. The most popular obstacle is how badly we treat one another. In a world torn apart by violence Jesus invites us to be reconciled. Since we do not like to eat with strangers, there can be no strangers at the Table of the Lord. Look at the example that we have from the Master. Knowing that all of the Apostles were going to betray Him, He still gave them His Body and Blood, no discrimination. We are the ones who make distinctions of titles, education, wealth—not God. The challenge is not only to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, but to be the Body and Blood of Christ. We are called to become what we eat. We cannot say that we love God if we do not love all people, regardless of race or color or religion. Fact is that God is pretty much color blind, because He made everybody. We do not have the right to discriminate against anyone or anything that God has made. Every human life is sacred, from the womb to the tomb; because we are all connected to the Body—the same Body that suffered and continues to suffer in our brothers and sisters—the same Body that rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father. Yes, the Lord is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, but He is just as present in the least among us, the ones whom we’d rather not see.
We celebrate that we are all connected and must treat each other with the same respect as we give to God.