Corpus Christi

Dear friends: Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This special Feast is celebrated in remembrance of Jesus who gave His life for our salvation and commanded us to celebrate the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in His memory.

The Feast owes its existence to Blessed Juliana of Liege, who began devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in around 1230. Largely through her insistence, in 1264 Pope Urban 1V commanded its observance by the universal church. The Feast sums up three important confessions about our Faith. First is that God became physically present in the person of Christ, True God and True Man. Secondly, God continues to be present in His people as they form the Mystical Body of Christ in His church. Thirdly, the presence of God under the form of bread and wine is made available to us on the altar at Mass and preserved there for our nourishment and worship.

Our liturgy today recalls the scriptural origins of this devotion. In the first reading of today we hear of Abraham asking his high priest, Melchizedek, to offer sacrifice to give thanks for a major victory that he had won. Instead of the usual sacrificial offering, the priest offered bread and wine, the full significance of which came to light at the Last Supper.

St Paul, in the second reading, points to the importance of the Eucharist as a reminder of Christ’s passion and death finally leading to the building of the mystical body. In the Gospel we have the miracle of the multiplication of loaves where Jesus generously gives food to the people and makes them partake in the thanksgiving meal. We who have come to receive the Body and Blood of Christ imply that we need to make an effort to become like Jesus Himself.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

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