The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
I Corinthians 11:23-26
On December 12, 1995, I was working at Our Lady of the Lake Church, in Holland, Michigan, when we received a call that the other Catholic Church, St. Francis de Sales, was burning. As Msgr. Duncan and I jumped in his car and raced over there we could see the black billowing smoke rising from downtown. When we arrived, Fr. Steve was coming out of the burning church carrying the Eucharist which he took from the Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Steve knew what the center of his life was, and he was willing to risk his life for the Eucharist.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. What we celebrate is in St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as this is our earliest account of the Last Supper. When Jesus raised the bread and the wine and said, “This is my body, this is my blood,” he meant what he said to be true. It is “not” a symbol, a want to be; it is the real presence. The Eucharist is not a “what,” but a “who.” Don’t get lost in how bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ. Come to believe that it is the body and blood of Christ, and are we will like Fr. Steve to give our lives to it?
There is something else that Jesus meant at the Last Supper, and that is when he says, “Do this in memory of me.” Jesus clearly intends that when we gather to celebrate the Eucharist that we recall all that he has done for us. What is harder to believe, that simple bread and wine can be transformed into the body and blood of Christ, or that a community of believers becomes the body and blood of Christ after they have partaken of the Eucharist? There are no observers at the table of the Eucharist. We are dismissed as the body and blood of Christ to go and proclaim that good news.
My friends in Christ, Jesus did not write a book, or leave us a set of rules of how to be a follower of his. What he left us, is a meal, a feast, so when we do this in his name, we can be changed into his Body and his Blood. Our tables of food in our homes are to be a reflection of what we do around this table. We have lost the sense of sharing a meal with people. How many have eaten a meal in their car this week? How many have eaten standing up because you were in a hurry to get somewhere else? In ancient times meals were times to share one’s life, to laugh to cry, to be with someone, and to have it life-changing. The Eucharist we share is meant to be sharing of one’s life, to laugh to cry, and to have it be life-changing.
As we come forward to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, may we become even more the Body of Christ!