Thursday, 16 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, also known as Corpus Christi, marking the commemoration of the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. Today we commemorate the Lord truly present in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which we partake and consume during every celebration of the Holy Mass. As Christians, we all firmly believe that the Eucharist we partake and receive in the Holy Mass is none other than the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Himself.

Although the appearance of the bread and wine remains, but the mystery of our faith in what is known as Transubstantiation means that the bread and wine had actually, by the power of God, through the priests, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and the authority given to them by the Lord through His Church, become the very essence, reality and matter of the Lord’s own Body and Blood. We have faith that this is the truth, and what we truly eat and drink is the Lord Himself, Whose Body has been broken for us, and Whose Blood has been shed and poured down to us, to wash us clean and to bring us to salvation and eternal life.

In our first reading today, we heard the account of the encounter between Abraham, the father of the faithful and Melchizedek, the High Priest of Salem and the High Priest of God Most High. In that occasion, Abraham gave offering to God through Melchizedek, who then offered Abraham’s offering to God, as His High Priest. Melchizedek according to Church tradition had always been a rather mysterious figure, but one who was highly respected and regarded, and there were many theories and explanations that some tried to provide with regards to Melchizedek. Some said that Melchizedek prefigured Christ Himself, in His role as the High Priest, just as Melchizedek being a High Priest of God as well.

Regardless what it was, the link between Melchizedek and Christ established Christ as the High Priest of all mankind, Who offered the sacrifice and offering on our behalf, for the absolution of our many sins. And this is where He uniquely offered on our behalf, the perfect and worthy offering, of none other than His own Precious Body and Blood, the only offering that is worthy enough for the atonement and forgiveness of our sins. Hence, Our Lord offered His sacrificial offering both as the High Priest as well as the Paschal Lamb being sacrificed.

In our second reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, we heard the Apostle recounting to the faithful what happened at the night of the Last Supper, when the Lord Instituted the Holy Eucharist, by offering the bread and wine that He had blessed, and gave them to His disciples, saying clearly that the bread was truly His Body, broken and given to them, while the wine was truly His Blood, shed and poured on all the people, to all sinners, for the salvation of souls and for the forgiveness of sins. He instituted the Holy Eucharist to give us all the means by which we can be saved from the darkness of our sins.

At the Last Supper, the Lord began His offering as the New Passover and the New Covenant that He established with all of mankind. He offered His own Precious and Holy Body and Blood because in the past, the offering and sacrifice of even unblemished lamb was not sufficient for the absolution of the whole multitude of mankind’s many sins. At the original Passover in Egypt, which the Israelites henceforth commemorated every year, the Passover lamb was slain and then its blood used to mark the houses of the Israelites, that they might be rescued and freed from the slavery and suffering they endured in Egypt. Thus, in the New Passover that the Lord had brought with Him, He Himself, as the Paschal Lamb, and the High Priest, offer on our behalf, the sacrificial offering to redeem us and free us from the suffering and slavery to our sins.

But that sacrifice and offerings did not end at the Last Supper. On the contrary, everything that happened during the Passion of the Lord, His suffering and journey, the suffering and rejection He endured, and His Way of the Cross, culminating with His death and suffering on the Cross. It was at Good Friday that His sacrifice and offering was completed and made perfect, as He offered His own Body and Blood, the Divine Word Incarnate, as the perfect and unblemished offering that cleansed all the faithful from the taints of sin. Through the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the Lord has given us the assurance and guarantee of salvation and eternal life.

That is what the Lord also meant to do as highlighted in our Gospel passage today, as we heard from that the account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand men with unknown thousands more of women and children with merely five bread and two fishes. He fed them all, and nourished them, giving them the strength to go on, as they were all hungry after following Him and listening to Him for His words and teachings. He then later on would tell them that He is the Bread of Life, the One Who had come into this world to bring life and nourish all of us, with the food that is His Body, and the drink that is His Blood, and as He said it Himself, all of us who share and partake in His Body and Blood shall never die and will have eternal life.

That is because when we eat His Body and drink His Blood, the Lord Himself has come to dwell within us, and He has made us into the Temple of His Holy Presence. As long as He remains in us and we remain in Him, we shall not be lost from Him, and we shall forever enjoy the glorious inheritance and true joy that can come from the Lord alone. The Lord has given His Body and Blood to us freely, and through this act of ultimate love and sacrifice, He has opened for us the gates of Heaven and the path to eternal life. This is what He has promised us and provided for us, and yet, many of us still do not have the firm faith in His providence and love.

Many of us still do not show that we truly believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. We may profess our faith in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, but from the way we behave and respond to the Eucharist more often than not showed just how little we appreciate the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, and how little the faith and love that we have in Him. We treated the Lord with indifference and even contempt, in the manner how we receive the Holy Eucharist, in our lack of respect for the Holy Mass and the important tenets of our Christian faith, and in not living our lives in accordance to what we have been expected as Christians.

Today, each and every one of us are reminded that we have been so fortunate that the Lord, our most loving Father, Creator and Master, have been so kind, patient and compassionate towards us that He has given us all His Son, to be Our Lord and Saviour, and by Whose sacrifice, both as our High Priest and Paschal Lamb, He has brought unto us the assurance and guarantee of salvation and eternal life, by giving us His own Body and His own Blood, for us to partake, that He may dwell in us, and that we may always be together with Him.

Let us remind ourselves that we are in the Holy Presence of God, that the Lord Himself has dwelled amongst us, and within us. Let us remind ourselves that we have to be worthy of Him, and strive to be better Christians for now on, in honouring and loving the most loving and perfect sacrifice that He has shown us, in bringing about our salvation. Let us all deepen our faith from now on, in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, that what we receive in the Holy Eucharist, is truly real Body and the real Blood of Our Lord, and not just merely bread and wine, or just merely a symbol.

And we have to begin that from ourselves. We have to give due reverence and honour to the Holy Eucharist, in the manner we receive it, such that we ensure that we are in a proper disposition and state of grace, just as St. Paul said that it would be harmful for Christians who are not in the state of grace to partake of the Holy Eucharist. We have to keep in mind that our every actions and deeds reflect our faith and what we believe in, and how can we expect others to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, Transubstantiation and that the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, at every celebration of the Holy Mass, if we ourselves have not wholeheartedly believed in it and showed that we truly believe?

May the Lord, Who has given us His own Precious Body and Blood, for our salvation, continue to love us and may He strengthen each and every one of us by His grace and love. May all of us draw ever closer to the Lord and His saving grace, with each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us all and be with all of our works, efforts and good endeavours, now and always. Amen.