Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Corpus Christi

May 29, 2016

Fr. José Maria Cortex, F.S.C.B.

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Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord is truly risen!  Alleluia! Let us rejoice and be glad!

The Feast of Corpus Christi is an occasion for us to renew our faith in the Eucharist. Following our celebration of the Feast of the Holy Trinity, today we celebrate the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.

The adoration of the Holy Trinity in the Blessed Sacrament was experienced by the Little Shepherds of Fatima. This is how Lúcia describes what happened to them on May 13, 1917, during the first apparition: “Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell on our knees, repeating in our hearts: ‘O most Holy Trinity, I adore You! My God, my God, I love You in the most Blessed Sacrament!’ Our Lady introduced the three children to the profound experience of the contemplation of the Trinity. The light they saw is the light hidden in the Blessed Sacrament: “My God I love you in the Blessed Sacrament!” The Holy Trinity, the Almighty God is really present in the bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ!

In today’s first reading from the Book of Genesis, we see the mysterious priest king Melchizedek bringing out bread and wine—a type of Eucharist—and blessing Abraham, who has just defeated the kings who had abducted his nephew Lot. The tradition of the Church has always identified Melchizedek with Jesus Christ, using the words of Psalm 110: “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek” (Ps 110:4).

Melchizedek, who gives bread and wine to Abraham, represents Jesus, who gives us his body and blood. Abraham arrives victorious from the battle against the abductors of his nephew. He represents those of us living our faith in a world that combats our belief. The encounter between Melchizedek and Abraham represents the encounter between the Eucharist and faith. Abraham was not expecting this meeting at the gates of Jerusalem. It is at the gates of Jerusalem, which means in the Church, that Jesus surprises us, in our weariness from the battles of life. He takes the initiative to feed us and bless us with the most precious treasure that he has given us: the Eucharist. 

In the second reading, St. Paul tells us how this encounter between the sacrament and faith really happened. He describes the moment when the promise of the Old Testament was fulfilled: “[…] the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, […] and said: ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup […] saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me’” (1 Cor 11:23–24).

Today’s Gospel tells us about the miracle of the fish and the loaves. The Eucharist is our daily miracle. Like the crowd fed by Jesus, we, too, are spiritually fed through his body and blood.

We need to grow in our love and devotion to the Eucharist,  as its fruitfulness depends upon our faith in it. The first reading tells us that Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek. As we receive and adore Jesus really present in the Blessed Sacrament, we feel like Abraham, with hearts full of gratitude. We are grateful to the one who gives us everything and who satisfies our thirst and hunger with the gift of his life. To receive the Eucharist means to enter into a dynamic of love. Jesus offered himself for us. Such an act of love invites us to offer ourselves. We are able to love God because he loved us first. What we are, what we have, and what we do are invited to become offerings for God’s glory, not as an obligation but as an invitation to love.

Let us pray for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ to renew our faith in the Eucharist. May increasing our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament transform our lives. Through our recognition of God’s presence in the Sacrament of the Altar, may we love as we are loved.  Amen.

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