Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, traditionally called the feast of Corpus Christi. In so celebrating, we acknowledge the wonderful gift of Holy Communion and its implication for our daily nourishment by God’s love in giving his Son, Jesus Christ, to and for us. This feast underscores the grand desire on the part of Jesus to remain with us even after his death to be the life-giving presence that we count on.
The very last words of St. Matthew’s gospel are Jesus’ compelling words, “I am with you always to the very end of the age (NIV, Mt. 28: 20).” And these words hearken back to the very beginning of Matthew’s gospel, “and they will call him Immanuel – which means, ‘God is with us’ (NIV Mt. 1: 23).” The implication is that God desires to be present to us permanently in the person of Jesus our redeemer. The words imply that the life-giving presence of Jesus is the very heart of Matthew’s gospel.
We experience that presence each day as we share in Holy Communion, the unique sacramental presence of Christ received as nourishment in the form of bread and wine, our spiritual food. That presence is enhanced in the daily lives of those whose baptism (and communion-nourishment) impels them to live the Christ-life within them by going out in service to the needs of others, especially the poor. Thus Christ continues to live vibrantly in the Risen Body (us), His People present and active in our world.
The past three Sundays have had us contemplating the presence of the Holy Spirit in the feast of Pentecost, reflecting on the reality of the Trinity and its role in our Christian lives, and now the Body of Christ as the sign of the Covenant (a new covenant) in the blood of Jesus shed for us.
These are profound mysteries that express fundamental realities about how God relates to us. God cares for us, God loves us, God forgives us, God invites us into life, and God invites us to make a difference in our world (just some of the many ways of expressing it!) Today we are invited to see our lives modeled on Jesus’ giving over of his body and blood FOR US.
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