Pastor’s Corner for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, Year A, by Rev. Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
Historically known by its Latin name, “Corpus Christi,” this feast day highlights the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” It comes from the Greek “eucharistein” and “eulogein,” which “recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim — especially during a meal — God’s works: creation, redemption and sanctification.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1328).
The Feast of Corpus Christi, goes back to the 13th century, but it celebrates something far older: the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper. In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present — body, blood, soul, and divinity — under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist.
Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as spiritual nourishment because he loves us. By eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, we become united to the person of Christ through his humanity. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56). In being united to the humanity of Christ, we are at the same time united to his divinity. Our mortal and corruptible natures are transformed by being joined to the source of life.
The transformed bread and wine are truly the Body and Blood of Christ and are not merely symbols. When Christ said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood,” the bread and wine are transubstantiated. Though the bread and wine appear the same to our human faculties, they are the real body and blood of Jesus.In Liturgy, the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts and the altar. As the ministers prepare the altar, representatives of the people bring forward the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ. The celebrant blesses and praises God for these gifts and places them on the altar, the place of the Eucharistic sacrifice. In addition to the bread and wine, monetary gifts for the support of the Church and the care of the poor may be brought forward. The Prayer over the Offerings concludes this preparation and disposes all for the Eucharistic Prayer.
The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ’s perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father.
The introductory dialogue establishes that this prayer is the prayer of the baptized and ordained, is offered in the presence of God, and has thanksgiving as its central focus. Let us pray for the grace to see Christ in the Eucharist and render him the respect he deserves both in giving and receiving him as food and drink.
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele, Joyce Xaba, Anna Dlhamini and Andrew Ledwaba.
Fr. N. Munekani SJ