THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (CORPUS CHRISTI) YEAR A
HOMILY THEME: “UNLESS YOU EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, YOU HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU.”
BY: Fr Unachukwu Nnamdi CCE
Today we celebrate that special gift of God to us in Christ Jesus through the working of the Holy Spirit, the most amazing privilege of partaking in the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus. May the Holy Eucharist continue to nourish all of us to life everlasting; Amen.
The Liturgy of Today is usually in two forms, the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the Solemn Procession with the Blessed Sacrament. For pastoral reasons, some Nations and Episcopal Conferences have been granted the permission to shift this Eucharistic Procession to a convenient time, as is the case in Nigeria where the Procession is joined to the Solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year. Our procession with the Blessed Sacrament is an invitation to come and worship and adore God present in the Blessed Sacrament. Remember, “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). When Jesus Christ speaks of worshipping God in spirit and in truth, the question that comes to our mind is; in which spirit? In which truth? Certainly, in the Spirit of God, in the Spirit that Himself is God and in the truth that is Jesus Christ for he said “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
In the Blessed Sacrament we have these two vividly manifested. The Holy Eucharist “is the Sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.” Hence, in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ who is the Truth is really present! Also in this Sacrament, the Holy Spirit is concretely manifest for by the action and words of the priest during the celebration of Mass, at the epiclesis, the bread and wine changes into the substance of the body and blood of Jesus. In this lies the adorability and admirability of the Blessed Sacrament, for in it God is present in the Spirit and in the Truth. The Holy Eucharist comes into existence by the action of the Holy Trinity. Hence in the Holy Eucharist, God is really and truly present and in the Holy Eucharist we truly worship God in spirit and in truth.
The murmuring of the Jews in the Gospel of today (John 6:51-58) was borne out of ignorance for they neither knew nor understood that which was presented before them. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. The Holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ Sacramentalized! The Holy Eucharist is the way Sacramentalized! The Holy Eucharist is the Truth Sacramentalized! And the Holy Eucharist is the Life Sacramentalized! This already was foreshadowed in the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness when God blessed them with manna from heaven (Deut 8:2-3, 14-16).
Today, as we honour and worship God in the Eucharist, we remember that ancient hymn of Saint Thomas Aquinas “Therefore we, before him bending, this great Sacrament revere; types and shadows have their ending, for the newer rite is here; faith, our outward sense befriending, makes our inward vision clear.”
May our worship of God in spirit and in truth make our inward visions clear to overlook all the mountains blocking our sight of God and to worship God how he wants to be worshipped; Amen.
Fr. Cyril CCE