Today’s feast was established in Liége, France, and it extended to the whole Western Church in 1264. On the feast of ‘Christ’s Body’ we celebrate Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. As Pope Francis teaches, the Corpus Christi procession should honour Christ’s gift of himself in the Eucharist, but should also be a pledge to share bread and faith with the people of the cities and towns where the processions take place. Just as the ‘breaking of the bread’ became a hallmark of the early Christian community, giving oneself in order to nourish others spiritually and physically should be a sign of Christians today.
It echoes well with the question we were asked a year ago. What does it mean for you to be an Ambassador for Christ where you are?On today’s feast, we are asked a similar question: An Ambassador of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist? How do we witness to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist? Actually, this question continues our Easter-reflection. Back then, we were challenged by the task of developing our faith’s ‘Easter Imagination’? What life do you imagine with the Resurrected Lord for yourself and for our church. What church are we dreaming about?
The feast of Corpus Christi is a good occasion to reignite our quest. The feast chellenges us in a very intense and creative way.
First it raises the question: what do we celebrate? What is the Eucharist? I found the ‘old’ answer about the purpose of worshiping Christ in the Eucharist, from the ‘old times’ (Pre-Vatican II). ‘The purpose of the present feast is to glofify the Blessed Sacrament, and to bring souls to the feet of Jesus, the Divine Lover of souls.’ I think, this task remains valid, as the authority of God must be recognised. The sense of ‘usnign our knees’ is particularly important in an age when all authority, religious, political, civic seems to be collapsing or dangereously weakened.
However, in line of the spirituality of our community, I would like to paraphrase the old definition of the feast. The purpose of celebrateing the Eucharistic Presence is to ‘bring souls to the eyes of Jesus’. I would like us to contemplate this emphasis. The Eucharist invites you, and me, us, to see how Jesus sees the world. When we adore the Eucharist in the adoration, the Eucharistic bread is put into the monstrance. We behold the consecrated Bread, in which, the resurrected Jesus is present in person, in his full power and love for us. For the world, it is bread. We see it differently.
Today, we celebrate this wonderful ability to see things differently, through the eyes of our Risen Lord. Let be challenged by this invitation of the Eucharist!
It is a ‘mystical moment’. The Eucharist reminds us that all of us have this ability to share the experience of mystics. We should not be put off by the word. Mystical experience is not something otherworldly. Seeing Christ in the Eucharist, our being focused on the Eucharist, is not a movement into phantasy. No. It is a movement to new ways of seeing. We are so accustomed to characterising, rationalising that it is difficult for us to appreaciate the ‘new world around us.’ Evely Underhill talks of ‘practical mysticism’. Contemplating the Eucharist is thoroughly practical. We are called to see and discover that eternity is with us, ivniting our contemplation perpetually, but we are frightened, shy and suspicious to respond.
So the first step on the mystical past of ‘seeing the Eucharist’ is our effort to see the world differently. The Eucharist teaches our eye and heart that there is more to life that we parpaps initially appreciated. Living a spiritual life is not about isolation. On the contrary, we want to engage the world as Jesus does. There is a different way of seeing the world, in the power of the Risen Lord. There is a different way of transforming the world, and ourselves, in the power of Easter and God’s Redeeming Love.
So we celebrate the fact that our love for the Eucharist is something active and practical. Let us have our ‘Corpus Christi procession’ in a special sense. Dear brother and sister, try to ‘see and hear’ our Liturgy today as an inner procession into the heart of our God. Let us celebrate, discover, and rejoice over this fascinating insight which the Lord wants to share us. When we celebrate mass, when we receive the communion, we are not focusing on the Bread and Wine. We are not singling out the miraculously changed elements. Now, our focus, our seeing is wider. We don’t eat Christ, we eat with Christ. (Julia Winter) When we celebrate mass, it is not an hour: we share life with Christ. We share our working day, the whole of the coming week, actually, the whole of our lives.
So let us see the Eucharist, the world, our Lord differently. Let us learn to celebrate the Eucharist not only with capital E, but with ‘small e’. Let us extend this table of love to our life, to our week, to our day. Let us try to make every day of ours whole!
‘May our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved, with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time! O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament divine! All prase and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!’
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..