“If you wish to adore the real Face of Jesus, we can find it in the divine Eucharist, where with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Face of our Lord is hidden under the white veil of the Host.” ~ Saint Gaetano Catanoso
In today’s 1st Reading (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16), on this the day we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ ~ “Corpus Christi Sunday” ~ Moses recalls the 40 year period during which God fed the Israelites with this unknown food called manna, doing so out of love for them and concern for their most basic of needs. The Israelites in turn come to see that “not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord.” (8:3). Those words may sound familiar, for they are the very words spoken by the Son of God when tempted by Satan during his 40 day journey through the desert, that time period that we as Christians now observe during the Lenten Season. But in the timelessness and mystery of Sacred Scripture, I am often left to wonder: Did Jesus quote Deuteronomy or does Deuteronomy quote Jesus?
It is clear that Jesus, by way of this great gift of the Eucharist, was forever destined to be the cornerstone of our faith, fortifying us with the spiritual and literal food for this journey home to the Father’s House that each and every one of us are making. “The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love,” Saint Thomas Aquinas once said. “It signifies love, It produces love. The Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.” In later years he would go on to say “the proper effect of the Eucharist is the transformation of man into God.“ Isn’t it ironic in a world where so many have elevated themselves to the position of God, primarily in their own minds of course, that this is in fact our Lord’s very intent, to make us one with Him, to raise us up in “communion” with Him, this despite the fact that the “gods” within our midst hardly know, think of, or pray to the Father at all, much less the Son? Go figure.
In our 2nd Reading (1 Corinthians 10:16-17), Paul begins to lay the foundation for his “Mystical Body of Christ” discourse, explaining that we the faithful, although many, are indeed one, for we break and eat of the same bread, the Body of Christ. Participation is the operative word here. We must participate in this sacrifice. “Do this in memory of me” are among Jesus’ final words to his beloved friends on the night of Holy Thursday, the implementation of the Eucharist. We hear these very words during the celebration of the Holy Mass. For those who are looking to live a life that is more pleasing to God, perhaps wondering what he or she can do in that regard, Jesus answers the question. “Do this,” he says. When we “do this,“ when we celebrate the Eucharist, we glorify him in the most powerful of ways. https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Do-THIS-In-Memory-of-Me.
In our Gospel today (John 6:51-58), we hear a message that Jesus shares with his followers many, many times, some captured in scripture, numerous others undoubtedly not recorded when he tells those on hand in rather point blank fashion “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you.” These were not poetic or metaphoric words. Not then, not now. Participation in this Eucharistic Paschal Mystery means partaking of Jesus in a very real way.
Unless you eat the flesh Of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life within you.
In light of declining church attendance across virtually every Christian denomination, there are, according to Jesus’ very precise words, a lot of lifeless, zombie-like “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27) walking among us https://discover.hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Life-Among-the-Lifeless-Now-THATS-Scary.
Perhaps this explains the despair, the violence, the lack of reverence for humanity and the utter disregard for the sanctity of human life; the bigotry and the lawlessness that now defines our broken world. Perhaps if everyone in our midst had the very body, blood, soul and divinity of our Savior and King coursing through our veins, the virtues of peace, understanding, compassion and decency would be the norm, not the exception. Perhaps the irrational hatred of racism would end, the slaughter of the innocent unborn in the womb would cease.
My prayer for everyone reading this today as well as those scattered elsewhere is that we will all grow in our hunger for the Holy Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine. For as Saint Angela of Foligno once said, "If we but paused for a moment to consider attentively what takes place in this Sacrament, I am sure that the thought of Christ's love for us would transform the coldness of our hearts into a fire of love and gratitude."
Choose life.... choose the Holy Eucharist.