HOMILY FOR CORPUS CHRISTI YEAR A.
1.What is CORPUS CHRISTI?
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ or Corpus Christi for short was born for the very precise purpose of openly reaffirming the faith of the People of God in the real, substantial and true presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. It is a feast that was established in order to publicly adore, praise and thank the Lord, who continues “to love us “to the end’, even to offering us his body and his blood” (Sacramentum Caritatis,n. 1).
Today’s Gospel is taken from St. John in which Jesus talks about the Discourse on the Holy Eucharist.
“This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. (Jn 6:50-57).”
His words leave no room for doubt…Thus, Jesus’ presence is NOT a symbolic one, but rather, a REAL, SUBSTANTIAL and TRUE presence. His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity are present in the Holy Eucharist. Were it not so, the Jews who heard Him wouldn’t have felt scandalized nor would have they quarreled among themselves. However, the Gospel states some of the Jews present found his words “hard “difficult” to accept (v. 60) “turned back and no longer went about with him (v. 66).”
St. Pope Paul VI expresses the Catholic faith on Jesus’ real, substantial and true presence in the Holy Eucharist in his encyclical letter Mysterium fidei, 5:
“The continuous teaching of the Catholic Church, the traditions delivered to catechumens, the perception of the Christian people, the doctrine defined by the Council of Trent, and the very words of Christ as he instituted the most holy Eucharist, all insist that we profess: ‘The Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ; the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, of his kindness, brought to life.’ To these words of St Ignatius of Antioch may be added the statement addressed to the people by Theodore of Mopsuestia, a faithful witness of the Church’s belief on this subject: ‘The Lord did not say; “This is the symbol of my body and this the symbol of my blood”. He said: “This is my body and my blood”.”
Our Lord, out of love for us, wanted to leave us with His Own Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Fulfilling His promise in Jn 6 and out of love for us, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist together with the sacrament of Holy Orders during the Last Supper in order to give us His Life, be united with us, nourish and accompany us in our earthly journey.
2. WHAT IS OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS JESUS’ TRUE, REAL AND SUBSTANTIAL PRESENCE IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST?
Our Lord’s immense love and real presence in the Holy Eucharist merits from us an attitude of adoration, praise and thanksgiving.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote: “Adoring the Body of Christ, means believing that there, in that piece of Bread, Christ is really there, and gives true sense to life, to the immense universe as to the smallest creature, to the whole of human history as to the most brief existence. Adoration is prayer that prolongs the celebration and Eucharistic communion and in which the soul continues to be nourished: it is nourished with love, truth, peace; it is nourished with hope, because the One before whom we prostrate ourselves does not judge us, does not crush us but liberates and transforms us (May 22, 2008).”
We could examine ourselves: how is our faith in Jesus’ true, real and substantial presence in the Holy Eucharist? Let us remember that if we believe that He is God, —and therefore omnipotent, all-powerful, thus, to him nothing is impossible—, then why do some of us doubt his words? Jesus, the Word through whom all things were made (Jn 1:1), commanded and the heavens, earth, seas and creatures were made and came into being, was speaking in a real and radical way, and in the same way, is capable of transforming into reality his words “This is my Body…this is my Blood” (Mt 26:26-28).
If so many outstanding miracles, thousands and even more have been declared as authentic by the Catholic Church as a requirement in order to declare a person as saint, why can’t some people believe that Jesus Himself could perform this miracle daily during the Holy Mass out of love for us? Have we forgotten that He is God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Savior of the world? Besides, countless Eucharistic miracles have occurred in the past, the most recent of which is the Eucharistic miracle in Buenos Aires in 1996, to remind us of this fact of faith.
There, in the Holy Eucharist Pope Francis wrote, “we encounter Jesus really; we share his life and we feel his love. There you can realize that his death and resurrection are for you. And when you worship Jesus in the Eucharist, you receive from him the Holy Spirit and you find peace and joy. (Hmily, June 3, 2018)
2. RECEIVE JESUS IN HOLY COMMUNION WITH LOVING FAITH AND GRATITUDE.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us show our loving correspondence to Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist, not only with words but above all with deeds. Let us receive Him in Holy Communion with gratitude, not in a passive, accustomed way. We must not get used to the Eucharist, nor be indifferent to His Real Presence in the Tabernacle.
Pope Francis said that “Each time we go to the altar to receive the Eucharist, we must truly renew our “amen” to the Body of Christ. When the priest says “the Body of Christ”, we say “amen”: but may it be an “amen” that comes from the heart, convinced. It is Jesus, it is Jesus Who has saved me, it is Jesus Who comes to give me the strength to live. It is Jesus, the living Jesus. But we must not get used to this: each time as if it were the first Communion (Angelus prayer, 23.06.2019).”
Let us also love and adore Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist:
- by making the Holy Mass as the most important event of the week, giving to it our 1st PRIORITY among our weekend activities and having the proper decorum and reverence as we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the altar;
- making sure of receiving Him in the state of grace and prolong our love and adoration by visiting Him frequently in the Tabernacle where He awaits us;
- by professing our Faith in His Real Presence in the Tabernacle through our pious genuflection.
Finally, let us HUNGER FOR HIM and GLORIFY Him in all our actions throughout the day, thus making into reality the words of Our Lord: HE WHO RECEIVES ME WILL LIVE FOR ME. May our Eucharistic faith and piety be manifested in our thoughts, desires and actions throughout the day. For a PERSON WHO SAYS HE LOVES JESUS BUT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST and LIVE FOR HIM, IS A PERSON WHO DOESN’T TRULY BELIEVE IN JESUS AND HIS WORD. F”or my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. (Jn 6: 56-57).”
“Love our Lord very much. Maintain and foster in your soul a sense of urgency to love Him better. Love God precisely now when perhaps a good many of those who hold Him in their hands do not love him, but rather ill—treat and neglect him. Be sure to take good care of the Lord for me, in the Holy Mass and throughout the whole day!”
-St. Josemaria, The Forge, n. 438
Happy Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ! A Blessed week ahead,
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
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