Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Those of us who are of a certain age remember this feast as Corpus Christi. We had processions around the church, dressed in our white communion dresses and gently scattering flower petals before the Blessed Sacrament which was carried by the priest. It was both a solemn and joyful occasion as we reverenced and respected the Body and Blood of Christ.

Most churches no longer have this tradition, but we continue to celebrate the precious gift of the Eucharist, the gift Jesus gives to us over and over again. That gift was given for the first time in the Upper Room when the traditional Passover supper was celebrated by Jesus and his friends. Something extraordinary happened at that supper. Jesus took the ordinary, traditional bread and wine and changed them into something sacred and holy. How deeply loved they must have felt at that moment, but at the same time confused and even frightened by the words of Jesus “take and eat, this is my body; take and drink, this is my my blood; do this in memory of me.” What could this mean? At the time they had no idea, but they trusted the man they grew to know and love. Perhaps later they recalled the words of Jesus to the crowds: ” I am the living bread which has come down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

As we approach the Eucharist do we remember that Jesus is alive? Are we grateful and amazed to know how much Jesus is longing for us, loving us, waiting to fill us with himself? The host we receive is not just a wafer or bread, it is truly Jesus himself, giving himself to us! How awesome is that? When we receive Jesus, He invites us into a deep, personal relationship with him and with each other. Together we are one. We are the body of Christ. Christ invites us to be bread broken for others, blood shed for others. We are invited to live the Eucharist in service and love of others just as Jesus did.

To quote St. John Paul ll “The Eucharist is the secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and the whole world. It is the source and summit of the Christian life. Seek him untiringly and lovingly.”

I think receiving the Eucharist now, will be even more significant and special since we have been deprived of that privilege for so long. As we approach the table once again may we do so with hearts full of gratitude and delight!

God bless all of you with peace, love and joy and may we share these gifts with all those we meet.

Sister Josita DiVita, FDC