1124 views | Rev Dr. Vitalis Anaehobi | June 6, 2021
1. On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water.Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
While they were eating,he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”(Mk 14:12-16, 22-36). Taken from this Sunday’s gospel for the solemnity of Corpus Christi.
2. The celebration of Corpus Christi is a reminder that our faith is founded on the bloody sacrifice of Jesus. Sacrifice is a distinguishing feature of any religion. Without sacrifice there can be no religion. Sacrifice can be bloody or non-bloody. The Old Testament is filled with a lot of bloody sacrifices made with animals and in one occasion, with a human being. The most memorable of these sacrifices was the one done to mark the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt, commonly known as the Passover. The Passover has remained an event commemorated yearly from the time of liberation till date.
3. Today’s gospel has the feast of Passover as its setting. Jesus and his disciples having offered the Passover lamb decided to have their Passover meal in a well furnished upper room. After the normal rituals and prayers for the feast, Jesus introduced something never thought of by any being. He took bread, gave thanks and gave it to his disciples saying:”This is my body, take and eat.” He did the same with wine, saying:”This is my blood, the blood of the new covenant, to be shed for you and for many for remission of sins, do this often in memory of me.” These simple gestures and words have come to mean the willingness of Jesus to remain forever physically in the Church among his followers. On this act is founded the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Holy Eucharist.
4. The question that rational minds continue to ask is: “How can Catholics pretend that the host they receive at Eucharistic celebration is truly the Body of Christ?” The Catholic conviction is not based on myth. It is founded on the very words and command of Christ: this is my body; I am the bread of life he who eats of my flesh shall never die, if you do not eat the flesh of the son of man, you will never have life in you, etc. This is what we call ipsisma verba Dei,(words directly said by Christ, therefore undisputable). In trying to domesticate this truth, theologians use the philosophical concepts of substance and accident. The substance is the invisible aspect of a things by which it remains what it is independently of its appearance. For example when you say”man”, you know that a man may be fair or dark, tall or short, kind or wicked etc. What makes a man is therefore not the visible things which are described as accidents but the substance which remains in the mind when the accidents have been removed. With this understanding Catholics believe, following the ipsisma verba Dei that when the priests prayers over the bread repeating the exact words of Christ that the substance of the bread is changed to the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ. This experience is described as “transubstantiation”.
5. What are the implications of bread and wine becoming substantially the Body and Blood of Christ? The first is that Christ is always with us. Every communion worthily received is a true physical contact with God. Receiving the Holy Communion is receiving God. For this reason he/she who must receive communion must be in a state of grace. Abstaining from Holy Communion can only be a sign of ignorance of what it means.
6. Today’s gospel invites you to value your relationship with Christ present in the Eucharist. Do you believe that the Holy Communion is the true Body and Blood of Christ? Do you live with confidence that you have Christ with you even in the present day of fear and bad governance? Do you make out little time once in a while to adore the Lord who stays quietly in the Tabernacle thirsting for your company? An hour before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is an hour in heaven, for where God is there heaven is found. @ Vita, 06/06/21.
Peace and security upon you.