Corpus Christi: The Eucharist

What is Corpus Christi?

The feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for "Body of Christ") is a liturgical solemnity celebrating the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and his Real Presence in the Eucharist, emphasizing the joy of the institution of the Eucharist. It is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, or the following Sunday.

We would like to invite you to deeper Communion with the Holy Trinity, and here we present a series of meditations and reflections by Fr. Michael McGourty, presented at our Corpus Christi retreat for young adults in 2013.

First Reflection

Faith

“Whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”
— Hebrews 11:7

Today many of us are here because we trusted that there would be an event, as advertised. We placed a certain amount of trust or faith in the information that we received about today. All good relationships are based on trust and faith. Faith is an invitation to open one’s heart in trust to another. In order for us to be in relationship with God we must respond in faith to His self-revelation to us. God’s self-revelation to us comes/came to us primarily in the person of His son Jesus Christ, but is also mediated to us through the Church and our culture. Because we live in a world in which many people are not hearing God’s message of love for all people, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that our culture was facing a crisis and called for a “Year of Faith” (October 11, 2012—November 24, 2013).

In his letter “Porta Fidei,” Pope Benedict XVI speaks of faith as the door to our relationship with God. By opening this door, we open the door to life with God. However, as in any relationship, if the person on the other side of the door remains a stranger, we do not grow in relationship. We must let that person in and get to know them. Mary and Abraham are two people of faith who were transformed as a result of their openness to God. By believing His words to them, they were able to make God present to others. Mary shows us how faith allowed the Holy Trinity to take hold of her and bring her to salvation. In order for us to be open to God in this way, we must seek to know Him and let Him into our hearts. Part of the reality of God’s loving nature is that He never forces Himself on us. He leaves us to respond freely to His invitation. Pope Benedict encouraged all of us to get to know Jesus better in this “Year of Faith” by reading the Bible, memorizing the Creed, reading the Catechism, studying the documents of Vatican II, and reaching out to Him by serving the poor. The entire Creed is structured to revolve around the mystery of the Holy Trinity. For this reason, in our next reflection, I would like to look at the intimacy—or communion—that God invites us to in faith with/through Him in the Holy Trinity.

Scripture

  • Hebrews, Chapter 11, verses 1-39.

Questions

  1. What have I done to accept God’s invitation to relationship?
  2. Do I work to know God?
  3. Am I open to knowing God or does God frighten me?
  4. What would I be willing to do for my faith?

Second Reflection

The Invitation to Communion with the Holy Trinity

Faith is the door by which we enter into relationship with God. God has already called us into relationship with Him by creating us and revealing Himself to us through the Holy Scriptures and most fully through His Son Jesus Christ. The Book of Genesis gives us an idea of the type of communion and intimacy with Himself that God has created us to enjoy. After Adam and Eve sinned, the rest of Bible recounts how God worked to reconcile us to Himself. This was ultimately accomplished through the life, death and resurrection of
Jesus.

Throughout His ministry Jesus reveals God to us as a Holy Trinity, of whom He is the beloved Son sent into the world to reveal the Father and Holy Spirit to us. As the Gospel of John tells us: Who sees Jesus, sees the Father (John 14:11). Jesus reveals the Father as the tender creator who loves each of us personally and invites us to call Him “Abba”—Father. When Jesus’ own work on earth is finished, and Jesus is ready to give His own life so that His disciples may have eternal life, He promised to send the Holy Spirit upon them so that He might always be with them. After He ascends into heaven, on Pentecost He sends the Holy Spirit on His disciples and establishes His Church so that He might continue to be present among them and future believers. Jesus also commissions the disciples to go out and baptize “in the name of the
Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” in order that He might live in communion with all who open their hearts to Him. Through the Holy Trinity each of us is still called to live in communion with God today. In our next reflection we will consider how the Holy Trinity calls us today, through faith, to communion with God through the Eucharist, the Church and the other sacraments.

Scripture

  1. Matthew, chapter 28, verses 16-20.
  2. John, chapters 13-17.
  3. Genesis, chapter 3.
  4. Act of the Apostles, chapter 2.

Questions

  1. How does God call you to communion?
  2. Are you aware of the Holy Trinity working in your life?
  3. What are you doing to accept God’s invitation to communion?

Third Reflection

The Eucharist: Encountering God’s Invitation to Communion

One of the most beautiful stories about the type of communion which Jesus wishes to enjoy with each of us after His resurrection is that which we find at the end of Luke’s Gospel, chapter 24, verses 13-35, known as the Road to Emmaus. Here we learn how the hidden Lord was made present to His disciples as He walked along with them. What is important to note in this story is that Jesus was already with His disciples before they even noticed or were aware of His presence with them. Their eyes needed to be opened to His being on the road of life with them. It is also the first day of the week, the day of His resurrection, when He celebrates with them.

Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote an important commentary on this story in his encyclical “Mane nobiscum Domine.” This means: “Remain with us, Lord.” In it, Blessed John Paul II spoke of the three moments in the story of Emmaus that happen every time that we come together as a Christian community to celebrate Mass. This story beautifully illustrates the type of communion that the Lord wishes to have with us at Mass through the Holy Trinity. In the Mass and liturgy we: 1) encounter the Holy Trinity in Word and Sacrament; 2) are built-up in communion with the Holy Trinity and the Church; and 3) are prepared to be sent out in mission to the world to bring Christ to our brothers and sisters.

Scripture

  • Luke, chapter 24, verses 13-35.

Questions

  1. Are you open to encountering Christ in the Eucharist?
  2. How do you close yourself off from this encounter?
  3. Do you think Christ should be in relationship with you without you having to bring anything or do anything in that relationship?

 
— Reflections by Fr. Michael McGourty, Pastor, St. John the Evangelist (June 1, 2013)

You can also download a printable PDF booklet version of this material, with room for your own reflections:

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