Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate a very great solemnity, that is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, or the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If last week we commemorate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, celebrating the Triune nature of our God, He who is One but exists in Three distinct Divine Persons : Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then on this day, we commemorate how that same Lord our God had come down upon us and dwells with us even now.
It is also a core and central tenet of our Faith to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. What is the Eucharist? It is not just mere bread and wine that we have offered to the Lord during the Mass. Indeed, the Mass itself is a holy sacrifice, which is truly the same Sacrifice which our Lord Jesus Christ had gone through for our sake as He hung from the cross that day on Calvary. It is the exact same sacrifice intended by God to seal His new and eternal Covenant with us mankind, sealed not by any mortal blood, but by the very Blood of the Lord Himself.
As in the first reading we heard how Moses gathered the people of Israel and sanctified them, and offering sacrifices of bulls and goats to the Lord through the priests chosen by the Lord, the blood of the animal sacrifices were collected and then sprinkled on the people, and the blood as the sign of the covenant which God had made with them. The blood is the pact and the seal that validated the whole covenant that God established with Israel.
By the blood of the lambs also God had rescued the people of Israel from their suffering and slavery by the Egyptians. God instructed them through Moses to take the blood of the Passover lambs and mark their houses on the doorposts and lintels with it. The houses marked with the blood of the lambs was then spared by the Lord and His angels of death passing through Egypt that night.
But the blood of mortal animals, lambs, bulls and goats do not last and neither did they constitute a lasting mark and seal on the covenant which God has made. Indeed, the priests chosen by God would have to renew the covenant again and again by constantly offering sacrifices to God. And in time, this became a problem when the people became engrossed with how the sacrifices were done instead of understanding the reasons behind such actions.
Instead of empty meaning of sacrifices done without proper understanding, what God intended was for us all to know that He is Love, and it is truly about His Love that we rejoice. The love of God therefore has been shown clearly in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God Himself who had allowed Himself to take up the humble form of Man, so that He may walk among us and dwell with us, as the ultimate symbol of God’s everlasting love and faithfulness.
For we mankind since the beginning of time had been intended for good things and for greatness. But we have not done our part of the covenant and the promise, and we broke the trust of the Lord by preferring to listen and obey the devil instead of obeying the Lord and His commandments. And even later on, the people of Israel continued to sin and worshipped even the pagan gods and following the pagan customs of their neighbour, in a blatant disregard of the covenant which God had established with them.
God is however ever faithful and He never went back on His words, or on any of His promises. It was always us mankind who betrayed the Lord and followed our own path, often leading up to damnation and distraction. And from time to time again, God forgave us and gave us a new chance, but there were not many who took up this generous offer of mercy. And so many of our kind fell into damnation.
Yet, for all of our disobedience, God wants us all His beloved to be sanctified and consecrated to Him, that we may be marked as His own, just as Israel in our first reading today were consecrated by the blood of the animal sacrifices before the Lord. However, this time round, it is no longer just the people of Israel and the descendants of Jacob only, but the new Covenant that God has established through His Son Jesus Christ encompasses all mankind.
And this new Covenant is perfect, far more perfect than the previous covenants, for God sealed it Himself with His Blood, the Blood of the Paschal Lamb, our Lord Jesus Himself, even as He hung on the cross. It was by His ultimate sacrifice on the cross that on the Altar of Calvary, on the Altar of the earth, He was hung between the heavens and the earth, as the perfect sacrifice and oblation for our sake. And while the blood of lambs, goats and bulls did not offer lasting purification for our sins, but the Blood of Christ our Lord offers eternal liberation from sin for all those who are true to His Covenant.
What is this Covenant? It is a Covenant of Love between God and us mankind, that is we ought to first love the Lord our God, with all of our heart, our mind, our strength and with all the capacity of our beings. And then secondly, we ought to love one another just in the same manner, as we have loved our Lord and just as we have loved and cared for ourselves. It is the Ten Commandments of God, revealed in the entirety of truth by Jesus Himself, that God is love, and His commandments is love too.
And He Himself gave the perfect example, by giving the perfect and most selfless love, by dying on the cross for us. Remember that Jesus said that the greatest love is for someone to die and lay down his life for his friends? It is therefore at that moment of the crucifixion, that Jesus laid down His life for us His beloved ones. And how is this relevant to us all, brethren? That is because it is the same sacrifice that we celebrate again and again every time we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
At the Last Supper, on the day before He died, Jesus had instituted the Eucharist itself by showing His disciples what they ought to do from then on, in the memory of Him, and not just memory indeed, for what the disciples would do from then on, and from them to our bishops and priests today, in an unbroken chain of peoples consecrated to God, they would become the Alter Christus, or the Christ personified in the person of the priests.
It is because they have been given the authority by the Lord Himself, to change the very substance and matter of the bread and wine which we offer, just as on the Last Supper when the Lord Jesus transformed the bread and wine into His own Body and His own Blood, to be given to us all, so that all of who share in them, may receive the eternal life promised to us.
And that Body is real Body, and real food. The Blood is real Blood, and real drink. Did Jesus not say that to the people of Israel, when He said that His Body and Blood are real food and drink? And how those who did not share in them do not have eternal life in them? And many of His disciples left Him after that, simply because they could not take the fact, and because they failed to understand the truth.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, do not be afraid if others mock us for believing in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, for people have rejected Jesus Himself in the past for stating the same truth. We believe that the bread and wine we see in the Holy Mass are transformed in matter and substance completely to the substance of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Body and Blood, and what we receive at the Holy Communion is not just a memory or a symbol, but the very Real and True Presence of our Lord Himself.
That is why we ought to adore the Most Holy Eucharist and know that it is the Lord Himself who had given Himself to us, so that by receiving Him into us, we may share in His death and resurrection, and receive the keys to the eternal life and happiness that He had prepared for us. That is why also, any profanation or improper treatment of the Real Presence of God is absolutely unacceptable.
And at the same time, let us take note that because the Lord Himself now dwells in us, we have become the Temple of His Presence, and the Tabernacle of His dwelling, just as we reserve the Eucharist in the Tabernacle at the heart and the centre of the Church. Therefore, we must make sure that we keep ourselves worthy and holy, so that we are truly worthy to have the Lord, the Giver of all Life and the Source of all that is good, dwell within us.
If we have sinned, in a small or big way, let us all endeavour to seek to be forgiven first, by doing penance and seeking God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance, looking for a priest to confess our sins. Let us not be afraid to ask for forgiveness and to go to confession. It is better that in our humility we are forgiven and brought to perfect reconciliation and be found worthy once again, rather than for us to receive Him in an unworthy state and then be condemned for defiling the Holy Temple of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek to be more committed to our faith in the Lord, and let us all seek to be closer to the Lord our God, who is really and truly present in the bread and wine transformed by the priests, the Alter Christus, into the very Body and Blood of our Lord Himself. Let us all who receive Him worthily gain the blessings and graces He had promised all of us who believe. God be with us all, the Temples of His holy Presence. Amen.