Even though we refer to this Sunday as Corpus Christi, much of the rest of the world (including Rome) knows it as Corpus Domini, the Body of the Lord. But it’s pretty well the same thing, after all.
In fact, much of the rest of the world (including Rome) celebrates this Solemnity on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. But in our country, as is the case with (too many?) other celebrations, it has been transferred to a Sunday. Oh, well!
In Rome there was (on the correct day!) a Eucharistic procession presided over by Pope Francis, from St Mary Major to St John Lateran, a distance of about a mile along the Via Merulana that connects these churches.
This day and this solemnity are important to me for specific reasons. The Eucharist and the Resurrection are the reasons I cannot be anything other than a Catholic. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? For myself, the evidence, even if “circumstantial,” is irrefutable. And if He did, then pretty well everything else He said is real and true, as well: including “This is my Body/This is my Blood/Do this…”
I tell our 2nd graders (in their pre-First Eucharist interviews) that if He could rise, He could actually mean the words of the Last Supper, and we continue to celebrate the Sacrament because He said “Do this.” So we do.
What do you believe? What do you think you are doing/receiving when you approach the altar? Where are your mind and your heart? Perhaps this Sunday you might stop and think about why the Lord would want to give himself to us in this (or any) way. I tell the kids that someone else once gave them their body & blood for their nourishment: their mothers, while they were in the womb. Why would Jesus want to be less intimate with us than our own mothers were and are?
It doesn’t matter that the Body and Blood of our Lord seems to be only a small host and a sip of wine. We all know that appearances can be deceiving. We all know that we want others to think of us as more than appearances: we want them to see the “real us”—what’s inside. It’s why the Fox told the Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” This is true of all of us; it is far more deeply true of the Eucharist.
What does your heart see? What does your heart long for? How intimately do you desire to be in contact and connection with our Lord? Do you—do we—believe in the reality of and the power of the Resurrection? Will we take seriously His promise “I am with you always…”?