Let Us Adore Christ In The Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
Readings: 1st: Ex 24, 3-8. 39-40; Ps 115; 2nd: Heb 9, 11-15; Gos Mk 14: 12-16. 22-26
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
“…By the Eucharistic Celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all” (CCC1326). Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ popularly known as Corpus Christi. It was introduced in the late 13th century to encourage the faithful to give special honor to the Holy Eucharist. It was extended to the entire Latin Church by Urban IV in 1264 and, became a mandatory feast of the Church in 1312 (Directory on popular piety and liturgy, No. 160). Officially, the solemnity is celebrated on Thursday after Trinity Sunday. However, where it is not a day of obligation, it is celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday.
As we celebrate Corpus Christi today, both our first and second reading talks about covenant, sacrifice, and blood. According to the first reading, the old covenant was sealed with the blood of animal sacrifice which Moses sprinkled on the people. On the contrary, the second reading reminds us that the new covenant was sealed with the blood of Christ. This is what makes the functional difference. Hence, the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ is the game changer. While the first covenant never guaranteed eternal life, the new does because it was sealed with a costly blood through a perfect sacrifice offered once and for all.
In the gospel, Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist. Here he was both the priest and the victim. This is another difference between the new and the old covenant. Christ as the priest offered himself to God for our salvation. In order words, it is important to note here that whenever we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, Christ is fully present both as the priest and as the victim. He accomplishes his priesthood through the actions of the human priest who as Alter Christus (another Christ) and acts “in persona Christi (in the person of Christ).” On the other hand, he accomplishes his role as a victim in the form of bread and wine. All these put together is what we refer to as an “action of grace.”
On a day like this, our best teacher is the holy mother church full of wisdom. She teaches us that: “The Eucharist is source and summit of the Christian life…For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself…The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and, that unity of the people of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and, of the worship men offer to Christ… In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, which in turn confirms our way of thinking” (CCC1324-5).
Therefore, today’s celebration is a celebration of life, salvation and grace. It teaches us that as real food, the Eucharist is the true body and blood of Christ which nourishes our soul. It is another most concrete way through which Christ is divinely present with us every day and moment. So, when we share in the Eucharist, we share in the life of Christ the head and, in the life of the church, his body. This means that we must pay more attention to the Holy Eucharist by spending more time in His divine presence. If we present ourselves before him daily, he will fill us with wisdom and show us the best approach to life. It also means that we should adore and offer him the reverence due to him. Any moment spent in the presence of the Most Holy Sacrament is both a golden moment and a moment of grace. Let us adore Christ saying: “Oh Sacrament Most Holy; Oh Sacrament Divine, all praises and all thanksgiving be yours in every moment and time.”
Peace be with you!!