In the heart of every Eucharistic celebration is the bread and wine. By the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood. Our Catholic Church is teaching us in our Catechism that the bread and wine consecrated by the Priest are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. It is the very words of Jesus, “This is my body… This is my blood, which is poured out for you… Do this in memory of me” (Institution of the Lord’s Supper, Luke 22:19-20). As I pondered on the solemnity of Corpus Christi or the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, I realized how blessed we are to receive Jesus’ body and blood in the form of bread. For me, it is only through the eyes of faith that we could grasp this mysterious presence of Jesus in our spiritual faith journey.
In our gospel reading today, Jesus is repeating to us once again that He is the living bread who came down from heaven and whoever eats this bread will live forever. The bread that He will give is, His flesh for the life of the world. Every time we participate in the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist and receive Jesus in the Holy Communion, we become united with Him, fully in communion with him. In the concept of faith, this must also have a transforming effect on our own personal lives as believers and as a community of believers.
For me personally, receiving Jesus in the Holy Communion is a great challenge for my faith. Why? Because the more we receive Jesus in the Holy communion, the more we should be like Him. I remember very well during my formation period in the postulancy, we were taught that when we receive Jesus in the Holy Communion, we become a living tabernacle of Jesus. Jesus lives in me, in you, in others, in each one of us and for this, we must treat one another with reverence, love, respect and care. Since the beginning of my affiliation with the Congregation where I belong, our father founder, Fr. Palau taught us that when we are in communion with God, we are in communion with our neighbor. When I receive Jesus in the Holy Communion, others can also receive Jesus through me; we can receive Jesus in each other. Truly for me and for every member of our Palautian family, Fr. Francisco Palau lived this mystery of communion, and he said: “One receives communion, a thousand receives …” MR 3,10. Fr. Palau’s experience regarding communion is a strong experience for me to understand what Jesus said: that the bread He will give is His flesh for the life of the world.
Perhaps in this Solemnity of Corpus Christi, it’s good to ask ourselves: How can I be in communion with God if I am not in communion with others? Just like the question in the Catechism: How can we love God that we don’t see if we cannot love our neighbors that we see? I just hope and pray that this celebration will remind us of the transforming effect of the Holy Communion in our lives by becoming aware of Jesus’ presence in our lives. I’m very sure that if we are always aware of His presence in us and in others, it will change our perspective in treating others; we will become more at the service of others like Jesus. So, amidst this Covid-19 pandemic, our sufferings will be light and easy when we can feel the love and presence of Jesus in the little acts of love and charity that we can give to one another. Receiving Jesus in the Holy Communion is like a spiritual fuel that will strengthen and energize us to do good works as we are fed and nourished by His very own body and blood.
Sr. Claire Marie R. Sy, CMT