Here is my homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Blessings on all!
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ – Cycle A
Dt 8: 2-3, 14b-16a; 1 Cor. 10 16-17; Jn 6: 51-58
June 17/18, 2017
Two weeks ago, at Pentecost, we sang, “Come Lord Jesus! Send us your Spirit! Renew the face of the earth!”
Yes, we asked Jesus to come into our hearts, into our minds, into our lives and transform us into his heart, his mind, his life, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to renew the earth and lead others to him.
Catholics throughout the world could renew the earth if every day they fervently prayed that prayer and took Jesus into themselves in Holy Communion and become who they receive. We could change the world for we would be united to Christ and to each other, and Jesus would work through us unhindered. We would become one body in Christ, united to each other and with God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We celebrate today the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. There are two important aspects of today’s solemnity.
The first aspect is our unity with one another as Church by coming and receiving the Eucharist here at Mass as a parish community united in one faith and belief.
The second aspect is our unity with Jesus in his Real Presence in the consecrated bread and wine, and our unity with God himself.
Unity with each other; unity with God!
We have in common with all Christian denominations the recognition that the Eucharist is a sign of unity for all who partake of it. We believe that in receiving the Eucharist we are publically stating that we are one in mutual concern and love for one another, and embrace the faith that has been given to us. As Catholics, we also know that the Eucharist we share is not only a sign of unity as a community, but it is the true flesh and blood of the risen Savior who sits at God’s right hand in heaven who unites us to God. The Eucharist we share at Mass is the Real Presence of Jesus because Jesus shared his priesthood with his apostles and their successors.
Yes, the Eucharist is the real Body and Blood of Christ, not only a symbol, not just a sign, but Jesus himself, real and true, his body and his blood, his soul and his divinity under the appearance of bread and wine. We do not eat and drink of the physical flesh of the earthly Jesus, but we eat and drink of the real spiritual flesh and blood of the heavenly Son of God. It is a wonderful, miraculous mystery.
His Body and his Blood, his soul and his divinity are completely present in both the consecrated bread and wine. He is truly present in every fragment of the Host, in every drop of wine. This is what Jesus himself said, “This is my Body and my Blood.”All the Scriptures attest to this belief; all the early Fathers of the Church taught it; all the martyrs died believing it; Christians everywhere believed it until the Protestant Reformation. So must we. Many found it too hard to believe when Jesus taught it, as we heard in the Gospel today. There are many today who do not believe it. Our unity as a Church depends on the Real Presence; our eternal happiness and eternal life Jesus says depends on it; the renewal of the world depends on it.
When we worthily receive the Body and Blood of Christ we become more and more like Jesus. We become his body and blood in today’s world because when we receive Holy Communion Jesus takes us into himself as we take him into ourselves. Jesus wants us to be like him. He is already like us in all things but sin, and now he wants us to be like him by giving us his Body and Blood. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6: 56)
We become what we receive, and what we receive is Jesus himself. We receive eternal life. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” (John 6: 54)
We cannot really live with Jesus in our lives, without worthily receiving his Body and Blood. We cannot renew the world without taking him into ourselves and thus become united to each other and without Jesus taking us into himself uniting us to God by giving us eternal life, God’s life.
Receiving the Eucharist worthily makes us more and more like Jesus, more and more like God, which is another ways of saying holy. Receiving the Eucharist also unites us to each other so that as one people, one Church, united in one faith and one baptism, we can go out and change the world. Receiving the Eucharist gives us divine life, eternal life, the life of heaven and a common life here on earth with each other.
Come Lord Jesus! Send us your Spirit! Renew the face of the earth!