The Feast of Corpus Christi was originally celebrated on the Sunday after the feast of the Holy Trinity. However, it was moved to the Thursday to identify it with Holy Thursday. On Holy Thursday Jesus instituted the Eucharist, but with all the celebration of the Paschal Mystery, this very important aspect gets overshadowed by the other aspects of the Easter Triduum. The Feast of Corpus Christi brings into focus Jesus giving us His Body and Blood the night before He died (Holy Thursday).
The Feast of Corpus Christi is also known as the “love feast”. The Eucharist is a love gathering where Christ gathers His people together with love, teaches them how to love God and how to love each other. The meal is a meal of love where Christ offers Himself out of love for us and where He leaves Himself with us because of His infinite, unconditional love. The Eucharist is the
special presence of Christ among us today. The institution of the Eucharist was His love gift to us and also a sign of His covenant with us.
Jesus, Himself is the new and everlasting covenant between God the Father and His children. The Body and Blood of Jesus are the signs and symbols of that covenant. He seals His covenant with us by shedding His own blood.
The Feast of Corpus Christi gives us a chance to reflect on whether we truly believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the graces and blessings that flow from the belief and practice that goes with the belief. To believe in the real presence of Jesus means that we believe that He is with us always and also that He strengthens us for some purpose when we receive Him in Holy Communion.
Holy Communion then takes on new meaning each time we receive Jesus and are united with Him. We become conscious that we are in communion with Jesus and our action, thoughts and
emotions should reflect this. Unity with Jesus then purifies our thoughts, words, emotions and actions.
We become conscious that Holy Communion is not only an individual encounter with Jesus but also an encounter with all those united in and through Christ. It is a union with all peoples. This union makes the Church the Mystical Body of Christ.
In the Corpus Christi procession the Holy Eucharist is carried in procession as a public profession of faith to all, that the Church is the Body of Christ and one experiences Jesus through the members of the Church. This serves as a challenge to us to live a life that witnesses a life in Christ.
Many people go through life and the only encounter they may have with God is through their encounter with us so we must rise to the challenge. The rite of Benediction is placed in the Liturgy of the Feast so as to specially honour Christ in the Eucharist. It is important for us to spend time in praise and thanksgiving for Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist because of all the graces we receive from Him in this special presence.
Reception of the Eucharist strengthens our heart to grow more like Jesus’ heart of love so that we can work together to build the Body of Christ and help others experience Jesus. Love is the only thing that can bind the members of the Church together.
This love comes from God to us through the Eucharist. When we are bonded by love we function as the Body of Christ sharing our gifts and talents as one unified whole. Each of us then assumes a role as part of the body recognising that we can only function effectively and efficiently when we work as one. Jesus’ prayer was that we would all be one just as the Father and Jesus are one.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, as we celebrate this great feast of your presence we are reminded that you are with us always and that we together as Church united with you form the Body of Christ. Help us to honour this special presence by spending time with you, by receiving you worthily, and by imitating you in thoughts, words and deeds. Help us to forgive, to love, to have compassion for others especially those who challenge us. Help us to be aware that only united with you and each other can we function as the Body of Christ in this world. Give us the grace to live with peace and love. May our parishes become peaceful, loving spaces for all. Amen
– Bernadette Gopaul- Ramkhalawan, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office