2021 Corpus Christi (B)
I must have read this passage from the gospel hundreds of times. I know it backwards. And yet I when I read it last night I saw something I had never noticed before. I noticed that at the last supper the disciples had already drunk from the cup before Jesus spoke to them. We read in that passage: ‘Then Jesus took a cup and when he had returned thanks he gave it to the disciples, and all drank from it, and he said to them, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many.” What struck me was that it was only after the event, only after they had drunk, did Jesus explain the significance. We, on the other hand, do it the other way round: the priest tells the people before they drink from the cup that this is the body of Christ.
The point I’m trying to make is that the disciples only began to appreciate what they had drunk after the event. When they first drank from the chalice it was wine; the same wine they’d been drinking all evening. After Jesus words they realized that something else had happened to the wine; that it was no longer just wine, but as Jesus said, “This is my blood.” And though we are told first, before we drink, that this is the blood of Christ, the reality only hits home once we have drunk it. What has happened is so mysterious, so profound, so spiritual, that we need time to appreciate what we have just consumed; and by time I mean years. I think it is a good habit after communion to pray to understand what we have just consumed: it is after all nothing less than the body and blood of Christ.
But we can become over familiar with communion. It is something we do each week. As a result, there is the danger that we don’t think about it very much: we receive the consecrated host, we go back to our places and wait for the mass to end. And yet Christ is dwelling within us; not just in a spiritual way, now it’s physical. And for a short while we are like a tabernacle. Christ is literally within us. Think about that. But do more than think: pray; ask for a deeper awareness of what you have just done. And when you do this you become more aware of why Christ allows himself to be consumed by us. His purpose is to help us to grow in love; indeed, to be transformed by love, till we become more like him. And this is awesome. This feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, is awesome.
as the years go by so we are transformed by doing this. With this precious food we shall keep going and finish the course. So never stop thanking God for this precious gift to us.