Feast of Corpus Christi Reflections on the Eucharist

This Sunday Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or "Corpus Christi"

It is a day set aside in the liturgical year for study and meditation on our belief in the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the bread and wine used during Communion.

The word eucharist is Greek for gratitude or thanksgiving. 

Rolheiser says "It’s important that you receive Eucharist; you don’t take it,” he said.
God gave Adam and Eve a vast number of things for their pleasure, but he told them that if they ate the fruit from one tree, they would die. The point of the story is that gifts must be given, not taken.”

Pope Benedict has urged us all to be more reverent in our preparation and participation for receiving the Eucharist.

This from Richard Rohr allows an entry into my reflection .

"Jesus talks frequently about metanoia: turning around, or changing your mind.
I remember having problems with that myself. I thought, "What am I supposed to turn around?" I'm baptized, I'm confirmed, I've gone to the Eucharist, and I'm even ordained! How foolish. That's precisely the blindness Jesus is talking about.

People the most obedient to commandment and church formulas can very often be the hardest to convert.

They've taken the symbol for the substance.

They've taken the ritual for the reality. 

They've taken the means for the end and become inoculated from experience of the real thing."

Perhaps some  treat communion like these ads.

The language of the passage in the Gospels below is startling because of its physicality

Rolheiser says:

"The Eucharist isn't abstract, a theological instruction, a creed, a moral precept, a philosophy, or even just an intimate word. It's bodily, an embrace, a kiss, something shockingly physical, the real presence in a deeper way than even the old metaphysics imagined. 

For whatever reasons we tend to shy away from admitting how radically physical the Eucharist actually is"... 

Read Ron Rolheiser's full article here entitled The Eucharist as Touch.

This Sundays Second Reading.

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
The scripture below is not in this cycle of  Sundays liturgy but still directly links to the feast of Corpus Christi.

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

Jesus said to them:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 

This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."

My reflection 

Is Jesus Christ as real to me spiritually as something I can taste ?

The fact that Jesus celebrated the Eucharist at an ordinary meal suggests that Jesus wanted us to continue this physicality of the celebration and its grounding in ordinary everyday life. 

"Blessed are you Lord God of all creation.... Through your goodness we have this bread to offer which earth has give and human hands have made .....

"Fruit of the vine and work of human hands- it will become our spiritual drink."

This is one reason why I personally prefer to receive the host in my hands because I feel it takes me closer to how the disciples would have been given the bread 2000 years ago and that long gift of apostolic succession stretches out to me in the here and now.  

For me Christ is tactile and when I receive the host I am also able to say "Take my hands and make them as your own". 

As Rolheiser says "Skin needs to be touched. God knows that. It's why Jesus gave us the Eucharist."A furry stuck out tongue just doesn't do it for me and I fail to see how the Pope thinks this is more reverent.I also feel that receiving communion on the tongue is too passive !!


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