Homily for the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ Year B
Theme: IN THE HOLY COMMUNION CHRIST REINCARNATES IN US
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
Homily for Sunday June 6 2021
(EX.24:3-8; HEB. 9:11-15; MK. 14:12-16,22-26)
Today, we celebrate the solemn feast of Corpus Christi. It is three feasts in one: the feast of Christ’s sacrifice, feast of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the feast of the Real Presence of Jesus.
It is a doctrinal feast established for three purposes: 1) to give God collective thanks for Christ’s abiding presence with us in the Eucharist and to honour him there; 2) to instruct the people in the Mystery, Faith and devotion surrounding the Eucharist, and 3) to teach us to appreciate and make use of the great gift of the Holy Eucharist
One of the primary ways of remembering people is through pictures perhaps if you ask people to open their purses or wallets you will see pictures of their loved ones. We have photographs; at least that is what we used to call them. Now, in this digital age, where we can take a picture even with our watch, we can even carry them all around with us on our phones and tablets. We don’t just carry pictures. We carry memories of people who were once part of our lives.
Jesus chose to be remembered with a meal, because it was the same way that God wanted the Passover to be remembered and celebrated. The Passover meal, with its roasted lamb, and unleavened bread, maybe is not the way that we would have chosen to remember the Passover, but it was what God commanded the Jewish people to do (Exodus 12:9). With that background, it became a very natural progression for Jesus and the Christians to also remember what God had done through His Son, Jesus Christ, with Bread and Wine, taken right out of the Passover meal. Do not forget that the celebration of Passover among other things was a celebration of God’s faithfulness to his covenant with Abraham.
The holy mother church holds that; “…By the Eucharistic Celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all” (CCC 1326). Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist. Here he was both the priest and the victim. This is a major difference between the new and the old covenant. As the priest, Christ offered himself to God for our salvation.
Both our first and second readings talk about covenant, sacrifice, and blood. According to the first reading, the old covenant was sealed with the blood of animal sacrifice which Moses sprinkled on the people. On the contrary, the second reading reminds us that the new covenant was sealed with the blood of Christ. This is what makes the functional difference. And this sacrifice of Christ is re-enacted every day in the mass. And that is what we call the Eucharist.
The church teaches us that: “The Eucharist is the source and the summit of the Christian life…For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself…The Eucharist is also the culmination both of God’s action, sanctifying the world in Christ and, of the worship men offer to Christ… In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summit of our faith…” (CCC1324-5).
In the eucharist, we literally take into our bodies the body of our saviour and become connected to Jesus. God became flesh in Jesus, when we receive communion, God is yet again incarnated but this time in us. God dwells in us as he did in Jesus. And with Christ in us and we in Christ, we must do as he did. Just as he offered himself fully to us, we must offer ourselves fully to Christ wherever we find him. We find him on the altar. We find him in our neighbours.
So, when we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, cloth the naked, take care of the sick and elderly, visit prisoners, and protect the sanctity of life, we don’t do these things because we’re social workers or political activists. We do them as a people in whom God dwells.
Happy feast day!
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara