Going from Ordinary to Extraordinary
June 6, 2021
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
~ John 6:31
Though Thursday, June 3, was the calendar date for the Feast of Corpus Christi (the two months since Holy Thursday’s Good Supper), Sunday, June 6, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is the celebration of the creation of the sacrament of Holy Communion. Today’s feast day is marked by St. Thomas Aquinas’ words (written at the request of Pope Urban IV in 1264): My dearly beloved, is it not beyond human power to express the ineffable delicacy of this sacrament in which spiritual sweetness is tasted in its very source, in which is brought to mind the remembrance of that all-excelling charity which Christ showed in His sacred passion? Surely it was to impress more profoundly upon the hearts of the faithful the immensity of this charity that our loving Savior instituted this sacrament at the last supper when, having celebrated the Pasch with His disciples. He was about to leave the world and return to the Father. It was to serve as an unending remembrance of His passion, as the fulfillment of ancient types — this the greatest of His miracles. To those who sorrow over His departure He has given a unique solace. Something miraculous occurs at every Mass – when the priest offers bread and wine during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Christ is present to us in every bit of bread and every drop of wine.
At Mass, we take something which is ordinary (bread and wine) and watch as it is transformed into something extraordinary. This transformation comes in the form of Jesus’ sacrifice for us – the sacrifice of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, the sacrifice of the Last Supper, and the sacrifice of the crucifixion. The sacrifice of the Last Supper is Jesus himself, who gave his body in the bread and his blood in the wine to his apostles. On the cross, Jesus himself is the sacrifice who offers his life to his Heavenly Father. It is a sacrifice made out of love.
Today we commemorate this sacrifice in the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Every Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In Mass, we receive Jesus’ self-sacrificing death and resurrection as a means to our salvation. In Mass, Jesus becomes present in the transformed bread and wine, which are not considered symbolic, but rather a real presence. The living, risen Jesus is present in the Eucharist. The living, risen Jesus gave himself to us, shared his life with us, and united us to him through Holy Communion. In Holy Communion, the resurrection of the Lord becomes a reality in our lives.
In his fourteenth encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia (On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church), Pope St. John Paul II reminds us that the Eucharist is the center of Catholic spiritual life, because a the holy Eucharist is Christ himself, our Passover and our living bread.
Together we pray:
Lord Jesus Christ! We believe you are present in the Eucharist. We believe that you are truly and permanently present or in the transformed bread and wine. We believe that you give us your body and blood when we go to Holy Communion. We believe that your presence in us transforms us to become like you. We believe that Holy Communion is a union with you. We believe that Holy Communion also connects us. It is a holiness that creates unity. By presenting your sacrifice and giving yourself to us as the bread of eternal life, you are creating a new community, a living community of the Church, out of us.
In your name we pray,