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This Sunday’s feast gives us a moment to contemplate just how thoroughly Christ gives himself to us


Fr Lawrence Lew OP/Flickr

Brother Silas Henderson, SDS - published on 06/02/18

He makes himself a humble meal that lovingly heals our memory, wounded by life’s frantic pace.
While they were eating,he took bread, said the blessing,broke it, gave it to them, and said,“Take it; this is my body.” —Mark 14:22

The Church’s annual celebration of Corpus Christi—the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ—is a uniquely Catholic celebration. Inspired by the devotion of St. Julian of Cornillon and Blessed Eva of Liège, this feast was added to the Church’s calendar in 1264.

We could say that, in a sense, every celebration of the Mass is a celebration of Corpus Christi, but on this day we are invited to reflect on the gift of Christ’s abiding presence in the Eucharist in a particular way. And, in the readings assigned to this feast this year, the Church asks us to pause and consider the sacrifice and self-gift that are embodied in the Eucharist.

The images of sacrifice that are included in the First and Second Readings for this feast help us understand how significant the offering and sharing of Jesus’ Body and Blood really is.

In the Eucharist, we have both sacrifice and gift as his handing over of his body and blood—all that he is—at the Last Supper was an anticipation of the total offering of himself that took place on that Good Friday.

Jesus loves us so much that he holds nothing back from us. He gives all of himself to us. His love becomes the source of our life. And, just as mothers give of their very selves to nourish their children, Jesus does the same for us.

As we adore and give thanks for the gift of the Eucharist on this Corpus Christi, we are also invited to consider how we are using the gift we have received. Are we open to the life—his life—that Jesus offers us in the sacrament of his Body and Blood and are we willing to offer the gift of our selves for the sake of others in remembrance of him?

How have you experienced Christ’s saving love in the Eucharist?Who has made sacrifices and given of themselves for you?How is Jesus inviting you to give of yourself for the sake of others?

Words of Wisdom: “Today’s Solemnity reminds us that in our fragmented lives, the Lord comes to meet us with a loving ‘fragility,’ which is the Eucharist. In the Bread of Life, the Lord comes to us, making himself a humble meal that lovingly heals our memory, wounded by life’s frantic pace. The Eucharist is the memorial of God’s love.”—Pope Francis

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