This coming weekend is yet another special celebrationreplacing the Ordinary Sunday: “The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ” or Corpus Christi, as it used to be called.
I haven’t the foggiest idea what really happens when the bread and wine are consecrated into the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus. Even though I say the words, there’s no corresponding physical action such as a tingle or a trembling. It’s just as much an act of faith for me as it is for you. But there are effects in my life that are brought about by the Eucharist.
First, little by little it transforms me into a body of Christ on Earth. As I look back over the years, I can sense myself being more patient, more loving, more generous with time and talent instead of being protective. Frequent reception of the Eucharist enables me to slip more quickly into quiet prayer, plus it helps me to be aware of God’s presence and blessings as the day moves on. When I’ve gone without the Eucharist for a few days or weeks, I’ve noticed that I become more irritable, more greedy, more selfish, less able to pray quietly and more prone to shopping therapy.
Second, the Eucharist is a memorial of someone I love. My Dad died in early May. He lives on in my heart 24-7. But I also have two lovely cross-stitches he did for me: one is the “Footprints In The Sand” prayer and the other is the song (lyrics and score) of “How Great thou Art.” I have mementos of a lovely lady I knew named Pat Goddard and two Holy Cross priests who are, and were, important to me: Bob Antonelli, C.S.C., and David Verhalen, C.S.C. They are in my heart, but it’s good to have these physical reminders as a way of remaining in communion with them.
So it is with the Eucharist it’s a physical reminder of the connection that we share with the Lord. And not only with Jesus, but with every single person through the centuries who has received the Body and Blood of the Lord. Every person who has died in the Lord is part of the Risen Body of Jesus and so in receiving the Eucharist, we also receive them. The bread and wine are found in every time and place, from catacombs and foxholes and homes to little country churches to the grandest cathedrals and basilicas.
Our God is so good!!!