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Eucharist forms Body of Christ as community of believers
Based on the Gospel of John 6:51-58
This Sunday, we celebrate the special feast often called by the Latin name Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) acknowledging the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Jesus said, “I am the living bread … Whoever eats this bread will live forever … Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”
Jesus is referring to the Eucharist. Jesus spiritually feeds and strengthens us with his Body and Blood. Just as our bodies need food to keep healthy and strong, so do our souls. During Mass, at the offertory, we bring bread and wine to the altar. Just as Jesus prayed at the Last Supper, the priest at Mass prays the words of consecration and the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The Mass is a sacrifice and a meal. It is a sacrifice because it makes present the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary. Jesus who offered himself in a bloody manner on the cross, to save us from our sins and give us divine life, now offers himself in an unbloody manner on the altar at every Mass. This sacrifice becomes the offering of the whole church. The Mass is a meal where we receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Christ becomes present under the “appearances” of bread and wine.
In the act of consecration, the “substance” of the bread and wine is changed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the “substance” of the Body and Blood of Christ. This change is called “transubstantiation.”
In faith, we speak of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because this “transubstantiation” takes place. (Cf. Catechism, no. 1376)
Jesus, who taught about God’s love, forgave sins, cured the sick, and who died on the cross and rose from the dead, is the same Jesus, Body and Blood, we receive in holy Communion at every Mass. Holy Communion is not only the union of Jesus and each of us but also the union we have with one another as a community of believers. With each holy Communion, he helps us to pray, love, forgive, care and share with others just as he did. Jesus forms us into a community of self-sacrificing love.
Lord, by your Spirit, help us to be your witnesses in this world.