THE EUCHARIST: A SACRAMENT AND A SACRIFICE
HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, YR. C.
Gen 14 : 18 -20, 1 Cor 11 : 23 : 26, Luke 9 : 11b -17.
Beloved in Christ, today we celebrate the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ ( popularly called Corpus Christi) and usual of me I have decided to share a story with you at the beginning of this homily. This story is a conversation between a Priest and one small boy during a catechism class.
Boy : why are you a Catholic?
Priest : because of the Resurrection
Boy : that explains why you are a Christian, but why are you a Catholic?, it is because of the Eucharist, said the boy.
Beloved as Catholic Christians the Eucharist is essential to our belief and fundamental to our life. Hence, this celebration gives us the opportunity to focus on this basic mystery of our faith and also to explore the meaning of the Eucharist in our worship as well as in our everyday life. Consequently , I have chosen ” EUCHARIST : A SACRAMENT AND A SACRIFICE” as our theme for this sunday.
Beloved in Christ, historically it was Pope Urban IV who in 1264 published a Bull, ‘Transiturus’ that made this feast part of the Church’s calendar. And it was influenced by these two Eucharistic incidence;
1. The German Priest, Peter of Prague, who having doubt about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist experienced the Eucharistic Miracle at Bolsena in 1263, while on a pilgrimage to Rome.
2. The story of the Belgian, Augustinian nun, St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon, who saw a vision of the moon that was full and beautiful but marked by a black spot that signified that there was no joyous celebration of the Eucharist in the entire Church’s calendar.
Beloved, even though this celebration is fixed for the Thursday after Trinity Sunday the Church permits it to be celebrated on the sunday after Trinity sunday as it is a movable celebration. This is to ensure that all the faithful can take part in this celebration.
Beloved , that God makes himself present through the hands of a Priest, in a tiny piece of bread and some wine, for those who do not believe is absurd. And as to why, we Catholics don’t believe that it is a reminder of Jesus or similar to Jesus but truly the body and blood of Christ, is even more bizarre and crazy.
Beloved, for us as Catholics when it comes to the Eucharist it is not about understanding but about taking Jesus at His word. This is supported by st. Paul in 1cor 11:23-26 ; …this is what I received from the Lord….
In this regard, the Eucharist then as a sacrament- an outward sign in and through which we meet Jesus who shares His life of grace with us; we see with human eyes what looks like bread and wine but with the eyes of faith, it is not bread and wine but the risen Lord Jesus.
Also, the Eucharist as a sacrifice- the re-living in an unbloody manner of Christ’s Death on Good Friday and of His Resurrection on Easter sunday.
Beloved in Christ, the Eucharist then is the highest expression of prayer and the summit of worship. With this understanding then nothing should be an obstacle to our coming to be with the Lord to find the strength we need to live life, with faith, hope and love.
Beloved, nobody is worthy to receive the Eucharist but since the Lord is happy to give himself to us this way, we should not be afraid to receive Him. Also let no one think that he or she has a’ right’ to receive the Eucharist; for there is no question of being’ right ‘on our part. The Eucharist is a gift from the Lord and we are to receive it with humility having confessed our sins.
Beloved, let us also remember that because of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist in a special way in the tabernacle in our Churches, we ought to visit the Blessed Sacrament often.
This has been Fr. Dolphyne’s presentation for the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, year c.
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