Oh Sacrament Most Holy, Oh Sacrament Divine
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 Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at 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” (CCC 1326).
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 adoration to the Holy Eucharist.
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Later, it was extended to the entire Latin Church by Urban IV in 1264 and became a mandatory feast of the universal Church in 1312. Traditionally, this solemnity is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. However, where it is not a day of obligation, it is celebrated on the Sunday following the 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. As the priest, Christ offered himself to God for our salvation. So, it is important to note 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 is alter Christus (another Christ) and, who 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.”
The church teaches us that: “The Eucharist is the source and the 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 also 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… ” (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 a concrete way through which Christ is divinely present with us every day and moment.
So, when we share in the celebration of 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 way to approach life.
This means that we should adore and offer Christ 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!