Corpus Christi: The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ
(Remember and Never Forget!)
“…the one who feeds on me…” Jesus sounds like a pregnant woman whose child in the womb is being nourished by the Mothers own body. Or, like an infant who continues to feed on the mother during the nursing period. The child in the womb, or at its mothers’ breast, could not survive without constant feeding that the mother provides. But any parent will attest that the feedings continue throughout the child’s life. If we can apply this analogy to the Eucharist, then we can fully understand the impact of Jesus’ words on this feast of the divine food that He left to us.
God has always made sure that His people were properly nourished...physically as well as spiritually. We hear in our first reading that God fed the chosen people during their desert wanderings of 40 years. We are specifically told to “remember and not forget”, the care that God has for all of us. This is not a question but a statement, “REMEMBER”! Although their desert meals were not banquets, it was enough to sustain them. Do not forget that He did not let them starve. Remember, that He was there for them when needed.
To show that we have not forgotten the many ways that God has nourished us, we celebrate Eucharist today. His gift to the church is the very Body and Blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Many of you have commented what it was like to not be able to attend Mass and receive communion, these past few months. Several mentioned that attending their first Mass in our Gym-Church, and receiving communion after several months, was like receiving their First Holy Communion as an adult. When I heard these comments, I knew that they both understood the meaning of the Eucharist and knew that they needed the spiritual nourishment it gives. Every one of us have had a longing to return to church and communion, to the lifelong nourishment that God wants to provide for us. This celebration of the Eucharist reminds us that God feeds us a choice food and drink today. The food for the journey has been God’s own Son. Jesus is the meal that God gives us to help keep us going till the end of our desert journey in this life.
One priest recently commented that he wondered what it would look like again when we will be able to return to our ‘former ways’. People will come forward, put out their hands, and we will look each other in the eyes, and the Eucharistic minister will say, “the Body of Christ”, but now it has a new dimension for me and I hope also for them. As I hold the communion bread, I am announcing to them that they too are the Body of Christ. We are receiving what we are—and hope to become more fully. Christ’s life we are receiving helps turn our full attention from ourselves to others. We have always said that the bread and wine are the real presence of Christ. What we hope is happening, is that we are also becoming Christ’s real presence tour world. This is a beautiful profession of faith that we need to constantly REMEMBER and NEVER FORGET!
The Tabernacle is the place where we Catholics pray, which is a venerable practice of devotion to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Why do we reverence before the tabernacle? First, because we have the Eucharist reserved there so that when a person is dying or is homebound, they can quickly receive communion without the Priest having to offer a Mass, so communion is available. Secondly, it is so that anyone can sit silently in the presence of the Eucharist and do adoration. The tabernacle is secondary to the primary action taking place at the altar during Mass. We genuflect before the tabernacle when we enter church and before going to our seats. At the end of Mass, we also genuflect to again show our respect for the presence of Christ in the tabernacle and in our midst. Several parishioners have been stopping by the church and sit on the Lanai so that they can see the tabernacle, the place of Christs presence. They have been praying and looking into the church and can see the tabernacle and the candle next to it…both signifying that God continues to be with us, even when we cannot be present in the church at this time. Remember and do not forget that He is always in our midst.