Photo by Unsplash.
Photo by Unsplash.

We celebrate today in our Church’s liturgical calendar the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or as it is more commonly called, Corpus Christi. Today we take time out and reflect on the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Perhaps this celebration of the Eucharist is all the more poignant due to the fact that over the past several months, the vast majority of people were not able to receive Holy Communion due to the global pandemic COVID-19. The Eucharist is the single most important thing in the universe, the most precious gift that God has given to man. It is not just a sign, not just a symbol. It is Christ, true God, true man, sacramentally present to us in the form of bread and wine that is, after consecration, truly, substantially changed into Christ’s body and blood. The Eucharist is not just a “nice thing,” not merely a symbolic sign of sharing and community, it is Christ’s true Body and true Blood.

At Holy Mass, we come to celebrate the single greatest gift — God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Son of God, comes to us, to feed, to strengthen, to nourish us in the simplest of accidents, the simplest of food, the staple of the diet of the Palestinian culture of Jesus’ day, and indeed, even within this Italian culture in which we find ourselves, bread and wine. He who created the stars of the universe, who fashioned the heavens, who single-handedly harrowed the halls of hell, freeing all of humanity from the snares of Satan by his death and resurrection, he comes to us in this simple, humble way. Jesus, ever meek and humble of heart, the Sacred Heart whom we honor and adore this month of June, this Jesus comes to us as food; he enters us, becomes one with us, and, unlike earthly food, which becomes integrated into us, this heavenly food makes us becomes more and more like him whom we receive.

In the tabernacle, the Living God dwells; when we reverently receive his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we too become tabernacles; living, walking, breathing tabernacles, shrines in the flesh of the Living God.

Two things, then, for us: first if we believe in the Real Presence of Christ, how do we receive the Eucharistic Lord? Do we consciously show reverence and acknowledgment to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or has it become a mere casual act? And further, does the reverence we show draw more attention to ourselves or to the Eucharist Lord? Do we prepare ourselves for Mass, acknowledging consciously what it is we are doing and where we are, in spite of the distractions, even the ones that can come due to our state of lives? The distractions that a young parent will have will be different than that of a priest, and they are things and people that must be attended, even right before Mass, but perhaps we can take a moment before Mass and quickly say the prayer of Jean-Jacques Olier, the founder of the Sulpicians: “O Jesus, living in Mary, come and live in your servants, in the spirit of holiness, in the fullness of your power, in the perfection of your ways, in the truth of your virtues, in the communion of your mysteries.

Rule over every adverse power, in your Spirit, for the glory of the Father. Amen.”

Second, what are the moral implications of our receptions of Holy Communion? How is our day different because we have received Holy Communion?

Is my day different because I have celebrated Mass? Do I recognize the Christ who lives in you and transforms you more and more by the Communion that you had received? Do we strive to see Christ in each other and then to be Christ to each other, recognizing that everyone whom we meet, especially the people that God has placed in our daily lives, whom we see every single day and whom we sometimes don’t appreciate as much as we should?