Today we celebrate one of my favorite days of the whole liturgical calendar. The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or what we call Corpus Christi which means “Body of Christ”. I love teaching and sharing about the Eucharist because it is a never ending source of wonder, mystery and divinity. Our blessed Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are present in every morsel of the bread and every drop of precious Blood.
Prior to Corona virus we were able to receive from the chalice. As you know, this has since changed. Did you know that if you only received the Host, you still have received the Body and Blood of our Lord? If you only received from the chalice, you still received the Body and Blood of our Lord? Sometimes people think that if they receive Host and not the Chalice then they only received half of the body or blood. This is incorrect, for Christ cannot be divided. He is fully present in the bread and the wine after the Priest, in the person of Christ says the prayers of consecration and the substance is transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord. Hence the phrase “Trans” – meaning Change, “Substantiation” – meaning substance.
It still looks like bread and wine. Those are called the “appearances”. It is the substance that has been changed. Let me give you an example that is far from perfect but might help. Suppose that when you came to Mass today I was standing outside with a camera and I took your picture as you were all smiles coming in to praise God. During the ceremony you are touched in a profoundly deep and spiritual way. You feel an incredible peace and you want to change your life. You decide then and there to give up any sinful ways and your life is going to be radically different from this point forward. You are a new person in love with God. As you exit the Cathedral, I take another picture of you, and you tell me all about the amazing experience you just had and what a changed person you are. I then hold up the two photos side by side. I cannot see any profound difference. On the outside you look the same as you did before. So what changed? Your substance is not the same. The very essence that is beyond the physical has been changed in you, even though your appearance is virtually the same.
In a much more profound and holy way, that is what happens during Mass. One last thing, sometimes we tell our children that we would do anything for them because they are our “flesh and blood”. As a family we share the same essence or substance. Now apply that to the Eucharist. God says “you are my child, flesh and blood, and I would do anything for you”…Just look at a crucifix… take a moment to realize who and what you are receiving the next time you “Commune” with the living God. You will be changed. Something to think about. May God richly bless you always!