My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
Today, in the Church’s liturgical calendar, we celebrate the Feast of the Corpus Christ, the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is the patron feast of our diocese and our city. Our diocese is the only diocese in the world that bears the name of “Corpus Christi – Body of Christi,” The name was given to this city when the Spanish explorer Peñeda landed here on the Feast of Corpus Christi.
Today we give thanks to the Lord for the great gift that He has given us in the Eucharist. While celebrating His last Passover meal with the apostles, the Last Supper, Jesus made sure that He would always be present for us by changing bread and wine into His own Body and Blood. This was not just some symbolic act. The substance of bread and wine are actually changed – He is really present! Every time Mass is celebrated, we are in some mysterious way participating in the Last Supper. The Mass is not a reenactment of the Last Supper, nor a memorial of the Last Supper, but it is the REAL thing.
The Eucharist is the heart of our Catholic faith. The council fathers of the Second Vatican Council stated in the document on the Liturgy: “the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.” That means that everything that we are about as Catholics is centered in the Eucharist. This is why the Eucharist is called the Queen of the Sacraments.
On the Feast of Corpus Christi 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said in his Angelus address: “Indeed, the Eucharist is the “treasure” of the Church, the precious heritage that her Lord has left to her. And the Church preserves it with the greatest care, celebrating it daily in Holy Mass, adoring it in churches and chapels, administering it to the sick, and as viaticum to those who are on their last journey.
“However, this treasure that is destined for the baptized, does not exhaust its radius of action in the context of the Church: the Eucharist is the Lord Jesus who gives himself “for the life of the world” (Jn 6: 51). In every time and in every place, he wants to meet human beings and bring them the life of God. And this is not all. The Eucharist also has a cosmic property: the transformation of the bread and the wine into Christ’s Body and Blood is in fact the principle of the divinization of creation itself.
On this feast day, the Christian Community proclaims that the Eucharist is its all, its very life, the source of life that triumphs over death. From communion with Christ in the Eucharist flows the charity that transforms our life, and supports us all on our journey towards the heavenly Homeland. For this reason, the liturgy makes us sing “Good Shepherd, true Bread…. You who know all things, who can do all things, who nourish us while on earth, lead your brethren to the heavenly banquet in the glory of your Saints”.
You and I need the Eucharist! When we receive His Body and Blood at communion, we actually become what we receive. Our life is changed. What is not consumed at Mass is reserved in the tabernacle so that communion will be available for the sick, and so that we can come to adore the Lord ever present in the Eucharist. Our life is enriched when we spend time with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament.
During his Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 9, 2002, Saint John Paul II urged young people not to “be held back by doubt or fear” if they feel God’s call to give their lives in his service. During his homily, the Holy Father offered a meditation on the Eucharistic mystery. He said, “The days, years and centuries go by, but not this most holy gesture, in which Jesus has condensed all his Gospel of love. On this feast, every city – the metropolis as well as the smallest village of the world – spiritually becomes Zion, the Jerusalem that praises the Lord.”
“This people need the Eucharist. The Eucharist makes the Church be missionary, but can this take place without priests who renew the Eucharistic mystery?” the Pontiff asked. Then at the end of his homily, Pope John Paul II addressed the youth who were present (as well as the youth here at SS. Cyril and Methodius and al the youth of the Diocese of Corpus Christi): “If anyone feels the Lord’s call to give himself totally to him, to love him with an undivided heart, let him not be held back by doubt or fear.” He continued, “May he express his own `yes’ without reservations, trusting him who is faithful to all his promises!”
When I started the Monday Adoration, I said that we should pray for two things every Monday – for vocations to the priesthood and religious life and for an end to abortion. You and I have a tremendous amount of power when we come before the Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament. Every Monday, I urge you to come before the Lord Jesus present on our altar and ask Him to send His Church more priests and religious sisters and brothers, especially from our own parish and diocese. If we want to continue to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, then we need to take seriously our responsibility to help provide more priests for the future.
If you are one of those young people that Saint John Paul II was addressing himself to in his sermon on the Feast of Corpus Christi, I pray that you will have the humility to give the Lord a try, and let Him work His miracle in you.
Last year on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus, our current Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminded us how the Eucharist unifies us into the one Body of Christ. He said: “The Eucharist also reminds us that we are not isolated individuals, but one body. As the people in the desert gathered the manna that fell from heaven and shared it in their families (cf. Ex 16), so Jesus, the Bread come down from Heaven, calls us together to receive him and to share him with one another. The Eucharist is not a sacrament “for me”; it is the sacrament of the many, who form one body, God’s holy and faithful people. Saint Paul reminded us of this: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity. Whoever receives it cannot fail to be a builder of unity, because building unity has become part of his or her “spiritual DNA”. May this Bread of unity heal our ambition to lord it over others, to greedily hoard things for ourselves, to foment discord and criticism. May it awaken in us the joy of living in love, without rivalry, jealousy or mean-spirited gossip.
“Now, in experiencing this Eucharist, let us adore and thank the Lord for this greatest of gifts: the living memorial of his love, that makes us one body and leads us to unity.”
Hope you will join me on Monday and spend time with Jesus ever present in the Blessed Sacrament. I pray that the Eucharist will truly become for each one of us the center of our life
Please pray for me! I love you.