The Solemnity of Corpus Christi
June 11, 2023 •
The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. Of course "source and summit" means our faith flows from the Eucharist - from the Body of Christ - and it goes back to the Body of Christ. It begins and ends with Jesus. . . .
Since the Eucharist is His real presence, and Jesus is the source and the summit, then the Eucharist is the source and the summit. All other Sacraments lead from the Eucharist and to the Eucharist because it is the Real Presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We know this to be true because this is what He taught.
The Church gives us a small segment of this teaching from the Gospel of John today. If you want to focus on that, read chapter six where Jesus clearly lays out His Real Presence. The fact that we - if we're going to be His disciples - we need to eat His Body and drink His Blood. Many Christians think He's just speaking metaphorically. Or analogously. Or symbolically. "Jesus didn't literally mean eat My Body and Blood!"
The problem is, the language of the text in its earliest sources, the word Jesus uses to these Jews is mastacare which means to physically chew and swallow. Jesus was telling the Jews: you have to physically eat My Body and Blood if you want to have life in you. That's why at the end of this passage, many of the Jews, and many of His disciples, turn their back on Him.
Jesus turned to Peter and the other eleven and said, "Are you going to leave Me too?
Peter put up his hands and said: "Lord, where else can we go? Only You have the words of everlasting life." Meaning: I don't really know what You're talking about, but I trust You. The Apostles themselves did not understand this teaching until the Last Supper, when Jesus took the bread, and He took the wine, and with His power as God He said: "This is My Body. This is My Blood." The first consecration.
Now, if Jesus wasn't God, then that's just symbolic.
But since He's God, every good Jew knows that when He says something, it happens. When He created the universe, He simply spoke, and it came into being. He is the creative force.
So if He takes bread and says, "This is My Body", guess what? It's not bread anymore. If He takes wine and says, "This is My Blood", it's not wine. It has been transformed. Or transubstantiated as we say. The substance has changed.
That's why we as Christians have always believed in the real presence of Jesus in the holy Eucharist. The scriptures are clear on this and the tradition has always maintained it.
But Jesus says very clearly in the gospel, "If you don't eat My Body and drink My Blood, then you don't have any life in you." Why is this so essential for our lives? . . .
There are probably many, many people throughout the world who never receive holy communion, and they're still alive, right? They're not dropping dead like flies.
What is Jesus talking about?
He was obviously not talking about physical life which is maintained by merely physical food.
Jesus is talking about the divine life He has given you in baptism. That divine life, that spark of divinity, that now lives in you - the Holy Spirit - will die in you if you don't feed it. And the only food that nourishes that divine life is His Body and Blood. . . .
Our fidelity to the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament makes or breaks someone's faith. The Lord says to you, "If you're not eating My Body and drinking My Blood, you have no life in you. You will spiritually die because you'll spiritually starve." That's why this teaching is so important. The Eucharist is our life.
Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a; Ps 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20; 1 Cor 10:16-17; Jn 6:51-58
Homily begins at 21:21