Reflections on Corpus Christi - June 10, 2012
Deacon Rick Fisher
The second Sunday of this month of June is the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi . Though celebrated every time we receive the Eucharist, the Church sets this one time aside each year so we can dwell of Jesus' supreme love gift to us, a gift to satisfy our deepest hunger.
The Eucharist began centuries ago in an Upper Room in Jerusalem . The altar was a table; the celebrant, Jesus, Eternal High Priest; the event, the first celebration of the Eucharist, offered to perpetuate the Sacrifice on the Cross for centuries to come until this Jesus, now raised, and with the Father, comes again. This celebration was entrusted to the spouse of Jesus, His Church, as the memorial of His death and resurrection, as a sacrament of His love, as a sign of Communion, and as a paschal banquet of the New Testament.
To this day we assemble to renew this mystery wherein the elements of bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus and recommit our efforts to help transform the world in His Name, through His grace. Our participation, from listening to the readings to joining in the hymns and prayers, culminates in Communion ... our embracing Jesus as the Bread of Life.
The Mass is a sacrificial meal. Jesus says, "Take and eat," not simply, take and contemplate. This is spiritual nourishment, an analogy to food. It completes the Eucharistic sacrifice for us. Eat means just what the verb conveys; consume what is true food, Jesus' Body and Blood.
Communion is an integral part to one's attending the Liturgy without exception. So long as one is free from serious sin and has the right intention (worship God, not please others), one should not hesitate to receive the Eucharist frequently; monthly, weekly, even daily if possible.
"Without the Eucharist we are dead", the Martyrs of Abitinia exclaimed many centuries ago as they prepared for martyrdom. Our martyrdom today is the witnessing of Christian values in the midst of a world which dismisses faith as non-relevant. Without the Eucharist, we too, could be dead ... dead to Christ, that is, in a world which doesn't acknowledge, which doesn't even know in large part, that He lives!!!
And the struggle today is undeniably intense; so intense in fact, that the Christian who fails to give at least Sunday Mass and Communion highest priority is placing himself, or herself, in eternal jeopardy.
Read the Scripture and treasure the words that Jesus gave us: "If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall have no life in you. He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53?54)