Corpus Christi (Homily)

Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi [the Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord].  Saint Augustine once said of the Eucharist that: “Although God is all-powerful, He is unable to give more; though supremely wise, He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give.”  The Church gives us this Feast day in order that we might meditate upon the greatest gift that God has ever given to us: the gift of Himself under the appearances of Bread and Wine.

This Feast gives us the chance to reflect upon the mysteries that were instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper.  Jesus promised to remain with us always and He fulfilled that promise by giving us His real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist.  At the Last Supper, Jesus took ordinary bread and wine and by His words, He changed them into His own Body and Blood.

In the Holy Eucharist, Our Lord is really, truly, wholly, substantially present.  On this Feast day, we take time to honor, in a special way, the fact that our God is really and truly present in our midst: through the Most Blessed Sacrament.  On this Feast, we take time to adore Our Lord and give Him thanks for His True Presence.  This Feast day should stir up love and gratitude in our hearts for this great gift that we receive.  This feast day also calls to our minds the fact that we are called to live the Eucharist.  When we eat ordinary food, we transform it into ourselves.  When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus transforms us into Himself.  The point of Holy Communion is to unite us with Our Lord and the more we are united to Him the more we should come to imitate Him, resemble Him.  He is the Light of the world and we too are called to be light.  In the Eucharist, Jesus unites us with Himself but He also transforms us into Himself.  We are given the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus so that He will truly reign in our hearts and change our lives.  In the Eucharist, Jesus Christ gives us the grace that we need to become the Saints that we are called to become: if only we have hearts that are open to receive that grace.  In Holy Communion, we receive God.  God doesn’t hold anything back from us.  The only reason that receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion does not instantly change our hearts and make us Saints is that we do not allow it to change us.  We are too attached to our sins.

Jesus completely sacrificed Himself so that He could be united to you.  He wants you to imitate Him.  He wants your whole heart: He doesn’t want you to hold anything back.  St. Paul says that we are to make of ourselves a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God.  How can you make yourself a sacrifice?  Keep your eyes from looking at things that they should not be looking at and you will have offered your eyes in sacrifice; keep your tongue from speaking uncharitable words and you will make of it a pleasing offering to God; avoid sin and your life will be a spiritual sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God.

When we love someone very much, we go out of our way to please that person.  We do not want to offend or upset them.  If you love God, put Him first in your life and root sin out of your hearts.  Of course we have a weak and fallen human nature which is inclined towards sin.  It is impossible to avoid sin by our own power.  But Jesus gives us Himself as food and He strengthens us that we might overcome sin and live in the freedom of the sons and daughters of God.  In the Eucharist, Jesus fulfills His promise: “Come to Me all of you who labor and are burdened . . . and I will refresh you.”  (Mt. 11:28)  Jn 15:5: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”  The Saints were constantly eager to make visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament because it was there that they found the grace and strength that they needed to be Saints.

Love desires union.  God loves you.  He desires union with you so much that He gives Himself to you as food.  The Saints loved God; they wanted to be near Him in the Tabernacle.  They received Him in Holy Communion with utmost devotion and love.  Do you love Jesus?  Do you desire union with Him?  Is Holy Communion the high point of your week?  Do you think of Jesus often?  Do you try your best to prepare yourself for Holy Communion at Mass?  Do you spend time thanking God after Mass?  We are called to love God above all things.  Our Lord waits for you in the Tabernacle.  He wants you to love Him, to pray to Him, to adore Him.  Let us root sin out of our lives and strive to love Our Lord, Truly Present in the Most Holy Eucharist with all our hearts.  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, help us to love you with all our hearts and imitate you in our lives.  Amen.