Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a – Psalm 147 – 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 – John 6:51-58
“St. Paul says, ‘the cup of blessing … and the bread that we break is it not a participation in the body and blood of Christ?” (1st Cor 10:16-17)
Today’s celebration has its origins in the feasts of Holy Week when on Holy Thursday we remember the Last Supper and the gift of Jesus’ very life to the Church for all ages. However, the Holy Week Liturgies move quickly from the Institution of the Holy Eucharist to Good Friday and Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil and there’s often not enough time to let it all settle in. Thus, these celebrations of Pentecost, Trinity Sunday and today’s Solemnity of Corpus Christi are given a reprise so that we might enter in to the deep mysteries of our Catholic Faith at a time when we can thoroughly absorb its fullness.
In many places there might be outdoor processions and other Eucharistic devotions which are a great witness to our faith that Jesus is truly with us, sustaining our inner life through His gift of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. However, it is always necessary that we don’t only participate in huge processions and celebrations but, rather, seeing that this gift of Christ’ Body and Blood is acknowledged in a one-to-one relationship that is on-going even in times when we are alone and feeling abandoned. Jesus’ words to His disciples, Who do people say that I am?” are important for each of us because He goes on to say, “But YOU! Who do -YOU say that I am? (Mark 8:29) It’s good for us to be in huge, outdoor processions, which are a great sign and witness of our faith. But in the end we’re going to be asked that same question: “But YOU? Who do YOU say that I am?”
This is why I love my early morning time before the Blessed Sacrament. I’m alone in our little house chapel in the first light of day. There aren’t any other friars astir and the city hasn’t really woken up yet. In that quiet space I can come before my Lord who sustains my spiritual life. I honestly don’t think that I could write these daily reflections – as easily as I seem to do – if I wasn’t so focused on this gift of Jesus’ presence in the Blessed Sacrament. There’s a little bit of St. Peter in all of us and that’s why we enter into that same dialogue: “Do you, Daniel, love me as a friend?” And we respond, “Yes, Lord you know that I love you like a friend.” Jesus repeats the question and then finally asks, “Do you love me (using the form of the word which means as in “lay down your life?” And we, like Peter, sometimes can only say, “Yes, Lord. I love you like a friend” The beauty of this dialogue lays in the fact that Jesus is always willing to meet us “where we’re at” in the hopes that we will one day be in that place where we can say, “I will lay down my life for You! This will only happen if we have regularly entered into to that quiet, intimate relationship with Jesus based on and nourished by the Holy Eucharist. And we respond: Amen!