10/6/07 – Making Christ Present

Today is the Feast of The Body and Blood of Christ (or Corpus Christi, for those who still remember their Latin).  Historically it finds its origins in the thirteenth century as a feast in honour of the Blessed Sacrament; in earlier years it was traditionally marked by a procession.

Of course we not only offer devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, but most importantly, we receive it through the sacrament of the Eucharist and the sacrifice of the Mass.  Through it we are nourished to live like Christ because through the Eucharist, Christ becomes one with us.

This leads me to reflect on something I saw happen during communion at Mass recently.  A regular parishioner received communion, then began returning to their seat as quickly and as steadily as their mobility would allow.  Another regular parishioner received communion immediately after, and seeing their fellow Catholic walking as best as they could, put an arm around them to support and guide them.

This was heart warming, yes.  Yet it was much more.  It reflected the very nature of the Eucharist.  St. Augustine tells us that at Mass, we say “Amen” to that which we are.  That is, we “become what we receive”; we receive and we are the Body of Christ.  The Body of Christ today, the Church, must then commit itself to Christ’s mission.  The call to “Love One Another” was acted out so instinctively in the service and love shared between these two parishioners.  The very act of communion, becoming one with Christ and with each other, leads us (in the words of Mary MacKillop) to never see a need without doing something about it.

Let us never forget that during the celebration of the Eucharist, Christ is present not only in the person of the priest, the proclaimed word and the eucharistic elements, but also in the liturgical assembly who gathers to celebrate the paschal mystery, the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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