Is it not a joy for us as Catholics to celebrate the great mystery of the body and blood of Christ in a solemn way? Is it also, not a great opportunity to askourselves how much we believe in the substantial presence of Jesus, in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the sign of his infinite love for his Father and for us?
Today, it is a joy for our parish community to see a group of children from our school receiving Jesus for the first time in the Holy Sacrament. It is good for us to reflect on how we prepare ourselves to receive our Lord hidden in the sacred host. Is it through habit, or out of love? Do we approach the altar already focused on Jesus who is about to be given to us?
The solemnity of Corpus Christi helps us to renew our faith in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus. It manifests that Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is “source and summit” of our Christian life. We know too well how difficult it is for many people to believe in the substantial presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We remember when Jesus declared to the crowd who followed him after the miracle of the loaves and fish, that he was the “living bread which has come down from Heaven… anyone who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:51); many left him after that thinking he was out of his mind. Yet, the 12 apostles remained with him though not necessarily because they believed easily in Jesus’ words. Yet, Jesus challenged their trust in him more than once over three years to listen to his teaching and to ponder his deeds. In today’s Gospel (Luke 9:11-17) when the crowd was huge and there was nothing to eat, Jesus said to them: “You yourselves give them something to eat “. It is only much later, at the Last Supper, that Jesus conferred on his disciples the power to perform the miracle called “transubstantiation”.
We have taught the first communicants this long word on purpose in order to teach them the very unique miracle that takes place on the altar each time a priest says the very words of Jesus: “This is my body…”. Thanks to that amazing presence of Christ in our midst, we need not ever despair nor say that God is absent and not caring.