This is just a beautiful Sunday as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, or as it used to be called, Corpus Christi. The Eucharist is the main meal of the Catholic community. For us Catholics, Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist uniting us to His Passion, Death and Resurrection, nourishing us. When we receive communion, we receive Jesus within us, sanctifying us. When the bread and wine are consecrated during the Mass, the very substance or essence of the bread and wine is changed from the physical to the spiritual. The physical makeup of bread and wine remains, but what this now becomes changes into the Lord. We call this the Real Presence. That is why we say that the hosts and the wine are consecrated, not just blessed. That is also why the hosts which are consecrated during the Mass are reserved in our tabernacles after Mass. We can then take the Real Presence of the Lord to the sick and dying. We also can worship before the Eucharistic presence of the Lord here in Church.
As we celebrate this Solemnity, I want to take the opportunity to remind everyone that we have a blessed Sacrament chapel in the Serra Center, so we need to show reverence to His presence. Now for communion, we make a gesture of reverence before receiving. Our Diocese has issued the directive that this should be a small bow. Some people genuflect. Some even go down to their knees. Neither is necessary and can tie up the communion line, but If a person’s conscience is saying that this is what he or she needs to do, then so be it, as long as the action is one of reverence, not a declaration of piety for others to notice.
When we receive the consecrated host on our tongues, we need to be sure that the minister of the Eucharist has access to our tongues. We should not just open our mouths. That often results in the minister’s fingers touching the person’s mouth. When we receive by hand, we should place one hand over the other, step aside, and then consume the consecrated host immediately.
The most important practice we must have come next. We need to speak to the Lord within us. We need to pray directly to Jesus inside of us in the Eucharist. It is so wrong and so disrespectful to the Presence of the Lord for us to receive communion and then ignore the One within us. This Solemnity leads us to reflect on the depth of this great gift, His presence in our midst and within us. Happy Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord.
With Love and Respect,
Fr. Oscar Mendez, OFM.
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