Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi Year C
Theme: The hidden treasure before us
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday, June 23 2019
In the history of God’s salvific walk with humanity, even though being the deepest and the highest and the widest mystery, God has always made Himself reachable and accessible to men and women of all times and of all ages. In His Son Jesus Christ, God opened for us the widest and fastest access to Himself. Jesus perpetuated His unique and irreplaceable and irreversible presence in our midst in the Holy Eucharist where He is really and substantially present before us by the power of the Holy Spirit in the form of bread and wine. May the body and blood of Christ keep us safe for eternal life; Amen.
Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known with the Latin title _Corpus Christ_ . Ordinarily, the Feast of today is celebrated on the Thursday immediately after Holy Trinity Sunday. However, for Pastoral Reasons, as is the case with us today, the Feast could be shifted to the Sunday after the Trinity Sunday. It is foreseen that a _Eucharistic Procession_ takes place on the same day. This also can be shifted to a more convenient time for Pastoral Reasons; for instance where the weather condition of a given location does not permit that procession could be carried out without disruption. On this Feast is celebrated the entirety of the Dogmatic teachings of the Church on the Eucharist, namely; “The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend. In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained. This presence is called – real – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be – real – too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present” (CCC, n. 1374). The uniqueness of this Sacrament moved the Fathers of the Church to often refer to it as the _Sacramentum Sacramentorum – Sacrament of Sacraments_ . The Second Vatican Council reaffirmed this identity of the Holy Eucharist regarding it further still as _the source and summit of the Christian life_ (Lumen Gentium, n. 11). Truly, “the other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented towards it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch” (CCC, n. 1324). This is so because in the Holy Eucharist, we encounter in a most sublime, unique and intimate way the person of Christ and become enwrapped completely into the depth of His mysteries.
God has never ceased to manifest His closeness to us and the abundance that flows from therein. The encounter between Melchizedek and Abram in the First Reading (Gen 14:18-20) is a manifestation of God’s constant movement towards us! At this beautiful encounter between Abram, weighed down by the weariness of war, and Melchizedek, charged with divine power and grace, was prefigured the offering of bread and wine to God as a form of sacrifice acceptable to Him for “Melchizedek King of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High.” Further still, in the Gospel Reading (Luke 9:11-17), God manifested the abundance that accompanies His presence in our midst especially in the uniqueness of His presence in our midst in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. Great things happen when God mixes with men and women! Such was it when Jesus “took the five loaves and the two fish, raised His eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then He broke them and handed them to His disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.” The satisfaction of the crowd and the collection of twelve baskets full of scraps signal the fullness of God’s presence in our midst in the person of Jesus Christ the Emmanuel. In Jesus Christ, the gap between heaven and earth was perpetually bridged and the rupture in our relationship with God caused by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve was forever healed. This particular presence, consummated in the Sacrifice of the Cross, was perpetuated and made ever new in the Holy Eucharist when at the Last Supper, as recounted in the Second Reading of today (I Cor 11:23-26), Jesus commanded His disciples “this is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me … this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.” Every Eucharistic Celebration, transubstantiated by the power of the Holy Spirit, makes really and substantially present our Lord Jesus Christ and the plenitude of the blessings and graces He offers to humanity. Because He is substantially present, together with His soul and divinity, God can be adored in the Eucharistic Species. In the Most Holy Eucharist we encounter God from the closest range and enter into communion with Him that what is received, being Christ Himself, becomes, in the words of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, “the medicine of immortality and the antidote to prevent us from death.” Whoever wants to live meaningfully and fruitfully must surely desire to receive our Lord Jesus Christ, the Way and the Truth and the Life, in the Holy Eucharist for “Christ will that what He Himself had done should be renewed while time should run, in memory of His parting hour: Thus, tutored in His school divine, we consecrated the bread and wine; and lo – a Host of saving power.”
Oh Most Holy Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ made present before us by the power of the Holy Spirit. In you is contained the plenitude of all the promises of the Father and all our innermost desires and prayers. Give us the grace to be clean of mind and of heart and to be scrubbed in all of our senses so as to gain in full the full measure of the hidden Treasure before us in the form of bread and wine; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE