Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
I have a golden chain and crucifix that was given to me by a dying old lady whom I had accompanied in the last two years of her earthly journey. She gave it to me as a “memorial of her love for me.”
It is a custom that people leave some memorial of their love with their loved ones before they die. It could be anything with sentimental value to the departing person.
On the night before his death, when men were plotting against him, the Lord Jesus too, knowing that his hour had come and that he had to depart from this world soon, left a great and glorious memorial of his love: his whole self – body and blood – in the Eucharist.
St. John Chrysostom says, “Jesus gave you all, and left nothing for himself.” In the Eucharist Jesus poured out his whole self, his whole love into it. St. Thomas Aquinas calls the Eucharist as “the sacrament of love.” Indeed, it is the sacrament of love because love was the only motive which prompted Jesus to give us his whole self in the Eucharist.
We celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. This feast actually celebrates the Eucharist. The feast of Corpus Christi celebrates the love of Jesus who gives us his Body to eat and his Blood to drink. This is what Jesus says in today’s gospel reading: “Take it; this is my body.” “This my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”
The Eucharist is not a private act of devotion we do in order to receive the blessings we ask from God. Rather, the Eucharist is a call to and a grace for service. The Eucharist is meant to send us out into the world ready to give expression to Christ’s kenosis or self-emptying, to his hospitality and generosity, to his self-giving and self-sacrifice.
If we want to make the Eucharist more meaningful and relevant to our lives, we have to see it from the point of view of giving more than receiving. The Eucharist is not just something we receive and benefit from; it is also something we bring and share to the needy. The Eucharist is not just a ritual we exercise every Sunday; it is also a way of life for all of us. The Eucharist is not just a remembering of what Jesus did; it is also the source of our strength to do what Jesus did. Sharing in the Eucharist means joining actively with Christ.
Jesus, in the Eucharist, teaches us how to be generous – how to give, how to sacrifice, how to serve. It is only by following Jesus’ self-giving way that we can make the Eucharist relevant today. We have to learn how to be more generous – how to give more, how to sacrifice more, how to serve more – as Jesus did. We have to let the Eucharist transform the way we live our lives… the way we share ourselves… the way we relate to one another… the way we actively participate in the life and mission of Christ… the way we use our time, talents, and resources for our community. Each of us must become a memorial of Christ’s self-giving love.
Can I make a suggestion? In a few minutes, at Communion time, when the Eucharistic minister holds up the Eucharist and says to you, “The Body of Christ,” make a special effort to realize what you receive. It is the living Body of Jesus. It is the same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem for us. It is the same Jesus who died on the cross for us. It is the same Jesus who rose from the dead for us.
When we think of it this way, the Eucharist is so incredible that it is almost impossible to imagine. Only a loving God could have given us such an incredible gift. Indeed, the Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s love for us.
Kaya hindi lang tayo dapat dumadalo o uma-attend nang Misa, kundi dapat tayo ay aktibong nakikibahagi sa Eukaristiya at patuloy na nagsasabuhay ng diwa nito pagkatapos ng Misa. At the end of the celebration of the Mass, we are somehow told: “We have celebrated the Eucharist, go and be Eucharist yourselves!”
Let us end with a prayer: Lord Jesus, make us always remember that the Eucharist is a call to move from worship to service – to take the nourishment, the embrace, we have just received from God and translate it immediately and directly into loving service of others. May our celebration of the Eucharist strengthen our sense of mission to go out into the world, into our community, ready to give expression and manifestation to Your hospitality and generosity, to Your humility and self-giving, to Your love and service. Amen.