"For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink" (Jn 6:55 ). What we eat and drink at Holy Communion is Christ's flesh and blood. Period! St. Thomas Aquinas affirms this in Lauda Sion, the sequence chanted at Corpus Christi Mass: "This the truth each Christian learns, Bread into his flesh he turns, to his precious blood the wine. Sight has failed, nor thought conceives, but a dauntless faith believes, resting on a power divine." The doctrine of the Real Presence, the continuous presence of Christ in the world in the consecrated Host, can only be fully grasped by faith because the senses cannot comprehend the substance. In the words of consecration, the priest lends his voice to the living words of Jesus to consecrate bread and wine, and by way of transubstantiation, Jesus's body and blood, soul and divinity become sacramentally present in our midst to worship and love.
We must ask, what is our disposition to this miracle? Are we moved by faith to respond in adoration, praise, and love? On a day like this, on Corpus Christi Sunday, our faith must accept what Jesus revealed in the Sacred Scripture: "My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink." As a Church of the Eucharist, we must attend to this mystery of faith with amazement and awe. At this time in our Church, that wonder needs to be re-awakened as John Paul II implored us in his encyclical letter, Ecclesia De Eucharistia: "I would like to rekindle this Eucharistic 'amazement'" (6). As the Holy Father noted, and as we still note today, there's been shadows of doubt and irreverence toward the Holy Eucharist.
As our parish, along with other parishes across the country, begin our Year of Parish Revival of Eucharistic faith and awe, we do so in a glorious and befitting way, a procession through Elizabethtown with the Most Sacred Body of Jesus bore in a monstrance. The Eucharistic procession this Sunday is a testimony to our faith in Jesus truly present among us and walking through our town as He did in the Bible, bringing us his blessings, joy, love and holiness. The USCBB recommends four invitations to parishes to aid them in experiencing a revival through a rekindled relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist: Reinvigorate Worship, creating moments of Personal Encounter, engaging in Robust Faith Formation, and Missionary Sending of Catholics. Beginning this Sunday, we shall respond to these invitations until next year's Corpus Christi.
The following words from USCCB's "Playbook for the Year of Parish Revival" capture our goal as a parish: "This is the task of local parishes in this Year of Parish Revival, to revive their parishioners in their love with Jesus in the Eucharist and to send them forth to share this love with others" (7).
I hope our worship and witness to Jesus during our parish Corpus Christi procession this Sunday will begin a Eucharistic revival in us as individuals and a faithful community. I invite you to share your testimony of your encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist with your brothers and sisters. Sharing life-transforming testimonies from our deep love for Jesus may be what someone needs to rekindle their faith in Jesus. Together, let's rekindle Eucharistic amazement!
With love from the Heart of Jesus,
Fr. Bernard, OP