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Building youths is building the body of Christ at Corpus Christi Sunday

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Rev. Fr. John Damian

You must have seen the Catholic faithful filing up to the Altar to receive Holy Communion. One may ask, is the Holy Communion the real Body and Blood of Christ or an ordinary Bread? Are those that receive the Body of Christ cannibals? What is the essence of Holy Communion? What has the Eucharist to do with our Salvation? Is there any relationship between the Holy Communion and the Church? And what is the relationship between the Real Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of Christ? What is the mystical Body of Christ?

Today is Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The gospel of Luke 9:11-17 presents the Eucharist as an act of Thanksgiving Prayer: “He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them…” At the Last Supper, “Jesus took bread,]blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matthew 26:26). After his resurrection, his disciples recognized him through the breaking of Bread (Luke 24:30-31). The early Church was established on daily breaking of bread: “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house.” (Acts 2:46). This is exactly what the Catholics do at every morning Mass. The Eucharist is the Church’s essence. It sustains the life of the Church and its members.

The first time Jesus told His fellow Jews He was the Bread of Life (John 6:35) they “quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” (Are we cannibals?) Jesus insisted, “Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life… 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:52-56). The Holy Communion is the Real Body of our Lord Christ. It is the channel of Eternal Life, our angelic food, and our spiritual nourishment.

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The Holy Communion is also a uniting force. It is a symbol of unity. The more we receive the Holy Communion, the more we abide in Christ. Through Christ, we are connected with the Most Holy Trinity. Hence, the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, “…that they may be one as We are one” (John 17:11). This divine union is the essence of the Holy Communion.

St. Paul declares, “…as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. The Church is not a building, (basilica, temple, auditorium) as most people wrongly think. According to St. Paul “You are the temple of God… the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). By receiving the Holy Communion, we are not just receiving Jesus Christ, but also receiving members of the Body of Christ, the Church. We are receiving in a symbolic and mystical way, all the Church members.

Most Church leaders prefer to build structures instead of the Body of Christ. By so doing, they impoverish their members. The Lord God appeals to Church leaders to use half of their harvest money to empower youths in their churches. The other half can be used to build the so-called structural church, which hardly gets completed. By building youths, we are not just building the Body of Christ, but are also solving the problem of unemployment and insecurity. Happy Corpus Christi!

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