Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood
of Christ (Corpus Christi)
June 23, 2019 Cycle C

by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain, Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

“The Lord Jesus […] took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it” (Cor 11:24).

Christian life is the spiritual journey of the transformation of ourselves into Christ, in order to achieve total identification with him. Saint Paul says: “[…] yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). A spiritual author and mystic, Caryll Houselander, wrote: “When we are changed into him as the bread into the host, then with his power we can follow his example.”

Bread, the embodiment of purity and humility, receives the words of the consecration and becomes the body of Christ, through the action of the Holy Spirit.

We are still far from renouncing whatever prevents us from identifying with Christ.

Bread has to be broken in order to be multiplied and become the body of Christ. Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus broke the bread before the multiplication of the loaves and fish: “Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them” (Lk 9:16). In the second reading, Saint Paul says that during the last supper, Jesus “took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it” (Cor 11:24).

The breaking of bread is a sacrifice, a spiritual death. In the Gospel according to John, Jesus says: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24).

Our pride hinders us from being transformed into Christ. Our pride is the bread to be broken. Our false self has to be put to death. Saint Paul says: “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry” (Col 3:5).

Change is needed. We need to pass from our old self to our new self, as Saint Paul says: “You should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Eph 4:22‒24).

How does Jesus break us? First, Jesus consented to be broken for us as an act of love. To be broken means to have knowledge of the mystery of Christ’s cross. It means to experience God’s infinite love for us. Life’s contradictions and our personal sufferings contribute to our more profound understanding of Christ’s sacrifice and increase our love for him. To be broken means to surrender ourselves entirely to the Father.

The death of the old self is a process of liberation leading us to peace and gratitude. Saint Paul says: “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful” (Col 3:15). Our pain is transfigured by the gentleness and sweetness of Jesus’ cross. As we consent to be broken and abandon ourselves into God’s hands, we find an ocean of peace and delight.

Let us pray. May the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ increase our devotion to the holy Sacrament of the Altar. May each celebration of the Eucharist be a personal encounter with Christ, truly present among us.  Amen.