Feast of Corpus Christi


Exodus 24:3-8
Hebrews 9: 11-15
Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26


It is uncommon to hear people die out of starvation because they had no time to eat. We make time to eat. We eat and nourish our bodies. Just like food is for the body, Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ) is for the soul. The body of Christ we receive during the Mass; the body of Christ we worship and adore has a tremendous impact on our souls. One may take time to realise this. But when one does then everything changes.

When the feast of Corpus Christi was introduced in the Church St. Thomas Acquinas was asked to compose prayers and hymns for the Eucharistic devotion. Personally, Thomas struggled to understand Eucharist intellectually. He would rest his head on the tabernacle and beg for inspiration. Towards the end of his life, he wrote a wonderful treatise on Eucharist. However, he was still unconvinced whether he had done justice to this sacrament. He placed his work at the foot of the cross and prayed. At that moment he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “You have written well, Thomas. What would you have as a reward?” Thomas said, “I will have nothing except you.” This love for the Eucharist reflects the feelings of St. Paul of the Cross as well. Paul shed tears many times after communion during his retreat days.

Well, it is not only the longing of Thomas and Paul. It is the true longing of everyone of us. And so, Vatican II is right in saying that the Eucharist is the source and the summit of Christian life. In the gospel Jesus says, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life”. The disciples found it hard to accept this teaching. Many in fact left for the lack of understanding. But for those who chose to remain even though they could not understand, he gave the bread and wine and said, ‘this is my body… this is my blood’. We grasp the mystery of God not in our timing but in God’s timing. We just have to remain there in love.

Oh Sacrament most holy, Oh sacrament divine. All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.

Justin Durai Raj CP is a member of the Passionist community at St.Paul, Glen Osmond, SA.