“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”
The feast of today is the combination of three events together: the feast of the Eucharistic sacrifice, the feast of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the feast of the Real Presence of Jesus in this Sacrament. Corpus Christi is a doctrinal feast established for three purposes: 1) to give God collective thanks for Christ’s abiding presence with us in the Eucharist and to honor Him there; 2) to instruct the people in the Mystery, Faith and devotion surrounding the Eucharist, and 3) to teach us to appreciate and make use of the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and as a sacrifice.
I have come that you may have life, life in its fullness (Jn.10, 10). The very purpose of incarnation and God’s dwelling with us is to be seen in the light of love and reconciliation of the fallen humanity. God is love and he manifests himself in giving and sacrificing for the benefit of the loved. He has created us to love him, to serve him and to be with him. So the Lord Jesus having lived a human life here on earth accepted the plan of the Heavenly Father to offer himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of mankind. He instituted the Eucharist, to thank and praise the almighty father and to nourish us with his own self that we will continue to live with him, in him and through him. The Eucharist is the living presence of Jesus with us. The church is build up by the Eucharist and it is the community of the faithful that celebrates the Eucharist.
Jesus said, “I am the living bread came down form heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. Whoever eats my body and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. ” We have within our human nature, the body and soul, that is to say the material and the spiritual. When Jesus says that I am the bread of life, it is first and foremost regarding the food for our soul, which is nourished and sustained, by the Lord himself in its fullness of life. It also depends on what is predominantly important and what are our priorities. What does it profit a human being if he/she gains the whole world and in the process looses his/her soul?
As human beings, we suffer from many types of hunger. There is a hunger for ordinary bread. Unless this is satisfied, no life is possible. There is hunger to love and to be loved and unless this is fulfilled, a person will always be in anguish. There is hunger for meaning and unless this is satisfied, there will dissatisfactions.
Let us look the various kinds of bread that Jesus offered to the people, thus satisfying their many hungers.
To the people who followed him into the desert, and who were starving, he offered ordinary bread and satisfied their physical hunger. To Mary Magdalene, the public sinner, a public sinner, he offered the bread of forgiveness and thus satisfied her hunger for acceptance. To the lonely woman at Jacob’s well, he offered the bread of companionship, and so satisfied their hunger for self-worth. To the woman of Naim, who was burying her only son, and to Martha and Mary who had just buried their brother Lazarus, he offered the bread of sympathy, and he showed them that even in death we are not beyond the reach of God’s help. With Zacchaeus, the rich tax collector who had robbed the bread from the table of the poor, he began by inviting himself to his table. Then having awakened within him a hunger for a better life, he got him to share his ill-gotten money with the poor. To the thief who died at his side he offered the bread of reconciliation with God, thus bringing peace to his troubled soul.
We can see that Christ shared himself with the others in many different ways and under many different forms, before offering himself to them as food and drink at the last super. We also see that there were people who refused to accept the bread of life offered by Jesus.
The rich young man to whom he offered the bread of discipleship, but he refused it because it was difficult for him to part with his riches. To the Pilate he offered the bread of truth, but he had no appetite for it because it meant to put his position at risk. To the people of Jerusalem, to whom with tears in his eyes, he offered bread of peace, but they refused it with the result that their city was destroyed. The scribes and Pharisees, to whom he offered not once, but several times, the bread of conversion, but they refused even a crumb of it.
To everyone, regardless of any status, he continues to offer the bread that will ultimately satisfy our hunger, which our Heavenly Father has placed in our hearts, namely, the bread of eternal life. The Lord alone is the person who can satisfy and fulfill the hunger and thirst of our hearts. St. Paul is a person who was completely transformed by the person of Crist. It is not I who live but Christ lives in me.
We are called to be Eucharistic people because we believe in the Eucharistic presence of Jesus. We should be spirit filled people, because the reception of Jesus into our life should transform us. If the reception of the sacrament does not transform us, then we are unable to bear fruit of the presence of Jesus in our life. We are a community people, because Eucharist empowers us to see the face of Christ in everyone. This enhances our relationship with the others and caring community is created and lived for the Lord.