This week we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi. It is traditionally celebrated on the Thursday after the feast of the Holy Trinity to commemorate the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. A public procession is held in most parishes and the Blessed Sacrament is carried through the streets. In Trinidad it is also traditional to plant on this day. How does all of this relate to us being Christians in Trinidad and Tobago?
First of all, we recognise that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. We have been catechised to believe that when we receive Holy Communion we become what we eat, so we are the Body of Christ. We are the Body of Christ for the communities and the world we live in.
As we reflect on recent events of murder, bullying, domestic violence, etc. in Trinidad and Tobago we need to ask ourselves some challenging questions:
1. How should the Body of Christ function in such a society?
It is clear that our society is in trouble and so as Catholics it is important to do what Jesus did when He walked upon the Earth. He taught, healed and led by example. So it is important for us to take an analytical look at our society and plan strategies to address our societal ills. We need to move from our pews to the streets and, like the Corpus Christi Procession, witness to the presence of Christ in us. Each parish should be encouraged to include an outreach component in every ministry.
2. As a member of the Body of Christ what is my personal responsibility?
Most times we wait for someone to do something but each of us can suggest and initiate discussions about what is taking place so that some form of sensitisation can take place. We need to put aside differences and use whatever God-given vocations, talents, gifts, etc. to improve the society we live in. The Body of Christ will crumple if each of its members stands alone. We need to unite with other Churches and other groups to bring real action to our communities.
3. What is the significance of processing with the Blessed Sacrament through the streets and how can this procession make a difference?
This procession can only make a difference when we, those who process, live what we profess. We must become the conscience of the society and make a difference in the society. The significance of this procession is to say to the world that we believe in the Body of Christ and that we ARE the Body of Christ and therefore we must act like the Body of Christ. We do our best to be Christ’s presence wherever we are.
4. What seeds need to be sown on this day?
In T&T we like to plant on this day. The spirituality of sowing seeds on this day is that we believe what we plant will thrive well because of the blessing received on this day. It is a day when the soil itself is blessed and the body signifies the soil. (Our body was made from the earth.) The blessing of the earth comes from the veneration of the Body. We should sow seeds that will make a difference to our society and improve the lives of people. We can use the very planting to create agriculture projects to either supplement small income homes or provide employment for unemployed. This should be the day we consecrate human development projects.
5. What is the link between the above questions and the Eucharist being the source and summit of our lives?
Christ strengthens us through the sacraments to go out on mission, to complete the work He started. Service and Christianity must go hand in hand. The Eucharist becomes the source that fuels us and propels us into action. It is also a foretaste of the heavenly Kingdom that we live in joyful hope of. By being people of service united to Christ and each other we begin to experience heaven on Earth.
Are you ready to be ‘Corpus Christi’ for T&T? Are you ready for the Mission of Christ?
– Bernadette Gopaul-Ramkhalawan, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office