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Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Feast of Corpus Christi 2018

  • Feast of Corpus Christi 2018

    Posted by Mary Wilson June 2, 2018 - Category: Spirituality - 446 views - 0 comments - 0 likes -   #Eucharist  #Corpus Christi 

    HOMILY BY FR. DOMINIC ON CORPUS CHRISTI

    Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This special Feast is in remembrance of Jesus who gave His life for our salvation and commanded us to celebrate the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in his memory.

    Why do we need a feast of the Eucharist? A feast like this affords us the opportunity to give God collective thanks for Christ’s abiding presence with us which is made visible in the Eucharist. It is also an opportunity for us to seek a better understanding of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ and to order our attitude to it accordingly, since the Eucharist is a sacrament of life which, if misused, could bring about the opposite effect. As St Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “All who eat and drink in an unworthy manner, without discerning the Lord’s body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).

    In order to arrive at a better understanding of the Eucharist we need to ask why Jesus gave us this sacrament in the first place. Whenever we have celebrations, let’s say, birthday, weddings and anniversary, they are always associated with food. We even entertain our visitors by offering them food to eat. Whenever we want to thank people, we often dine with them. Every meal has its social dimension. A meal unites people, holds the family together and builds a community. In the same way, Jesus knew that soon He would leave his disciples and return to His father. So He had a special meal with them on the first Holy Thursday. It was a farewell meal to His followers. This was a great idea of Jesus by which he could still stay very close to his friends and followers. He chose to be something they needed and could use daily and that is, their daily food: bread. When they ate bread, it turned into their own flesh. It became part of them. In the same way, Jesus inside that consecrated bread became part of them and they of Him. We cannot get closer to some than food does when we eat it. It becomes part of us. So The Eucharist is a gift, not just to be adored and reverenced, but also to be consumed, digested and lived by every Christian.

    Our belief in this Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist derives from the literal interpretation of the promise of Christ to give us his Body and Blood for our spiritual food and drink, as found in all the gospels (Jn6:53-56)”whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him”. Eucharistic theologians explain the Real Presence by a process called transubstantiation: the entire substance of bread and wine is changed into the entire substance of the risen and glorified Body and Blood of Christ, retaining only the “accidents” (taste, color, shape) of bread and wine. But for non-Catholics it is “transignification.” They believe that the bread and wine are simply “signs” of the Body and Blood of Christ. Transubstantiation makes Christ as “really” present in the Eucharist. Can there be a religion in which God is closer to man than our Catholicism?

    Along with this feast we also need to understand the truth, Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to our senses." "Christ's body is hidden in the least of us as it is under the appearances of bread and wine. Both require an uncommon and daring faith. When we labor for human rights, when we shelter the poor, when we dismantle the bombs, when we protect the unborn, when we reach out to the criminal, we do these things not as political activists or social workers. We do them not as liberals or conservatives. We do them as people who worship the incarnate God. The body and blood of Christ is not only our redemption. It is our task!"

    Dominic Tang, the courageous Chinese archbishop, was imprisoned for twenty-one years for nothing more than his loyalty to Christ and Christ’s one, true Church. After he had spent five years of solitary confinement in a windowless, damp cell, he was told by his jailers that he could leave it for a few hours to do whatever he wanted. Five years of solitary confinement and he had a couple of hours to do what he wanted! What would it be? A hot shower? A change of clothes? Certainly a long walk outside? A chance to call or write to family? What would it be, the jailer asked him. “I would like to say Mass,” replied Archbishop Tang. Also a Vietnamese Jesuit, Joseph Nguyen-Cong Doan, who spent nine years in labor camps in Vietnam, relates how he was finally able to say Mass when a fellow priest-prisoner shared some of his own smuggled supplies. “That night, when the other prisoners were asleep, lying on the floor of my cell, I celebrated Mass with tears of joy. My altar was my blanket, my prison clothes my vestments. But I felt myself at the heart of humanity and of the whole of creation. Today’s feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus constantly calls us beyond ourselves to sacrificial love for others.

    Image by David Eucaristía via CC Search/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/FjFhwB


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