Over this past year, many of us have not reaped the potential rewards offered us by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Many pandemic-inspired protocols have changed our customary ways of going to Communion. Some of the faithful, out of concern for safety, have viewed the Mass from home and made only a spiritual communion. Sadly, even as COVID has caused much physical illness and death, our celebration of the Mass—like so many other aspects of regular life—has also suffered in its own way from the effects of the disease….
But the time is coming—it is here already—when we must begin again to receive the Eucharistic Jesus more fruitfully!
Sunday, June 6, celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus—Corpus Christi. The Church gives us this annual celebration so that we might focus—or, as it were, re-focus—on this great mystery of our faith.
I’d like you to notice something in particular when you attend Mass in person or watch the Televised Mass this Sunday. The Opening Prayer gives a remarkable insight into the reality of the Eucharist. Most of the time when the priest prays the Opening Prayer, he addresses God the Father, concluding, “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit.” But on this day, Corpus Christi, the day set aside to redirect our attention to the Body of Christ, the priest speaks to Jesus himself. He prays to Jesus that, as we “revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood…, we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption.” The sacred liturgy of the Church is asking each of us to keep our eyes and ears fixed on the Eucharistic Jesus this day!
But the Church doesn’t only address Christ at this Opening Prayer—Jesus also speaks to us, even as we receive him. St. Augustine imagined the Eucharistic Jesus saying to him from the Sacred Host that, in holy communion, Jesus is not so much changed into us as we are changed into him! Unlike earthly food that becomes a part of our physical body when we eat it, the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus transforms us into himself, his own Mystical Body, and lets us share in his saving grace, victory, and joy.
The Eucharist—whether offered at Mass, received worthily in Communion, or adored in the tabernacle—is a true medicine of immortality and a real foretaste of heaven. At this stage of our lives and of our history, it is important that we desire this great grace and hunger for him.
May the Solemnity of Corpus Christi be a source of new life for us all!
I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!