The Solemnity of the Most Holy
Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

June 14, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

Today’s first reading tells us that God permitted the Israelites in the desert to be tested by the affliction of hunger. With the current lockdown, we have experienced something similar, spiritual hunger, and come to understand how vital the Eucharist is.

We need the Eucharist because we need Christ. We need his body and blood in order to have life: “[…] unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53). We need not only this life on earth but also eternal life: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (Jn 6:54).

Without Christ, we become fragmented. Christ makes us all one. In today’s second reading, Saint Paul says: “We, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Cor 10:17). In Christ we become one without losing our individual identities.

When Christ remains in us, we become builders of unity and reconciliation: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56).

Christ heals our personal wounds and those of society. Division is the work of the Evil One. Unity is the work of Christ. Christ makes us one because he has conquered evil and sin. He has the power to unite everyone: black and white, red and blue, left and right.

If Christ is living in us, we welcome everyone in our hearts. With Christ, difference is not a threat but a manifestation of the Creator’s creativity. Thanks be to God that there are different races! Thanks be to God that there are different peoples! Thanks be to God that there are different cultures! Praise be the Lord because we are all different!

“Do not forget the Lord, your God” (Dt 8:11). When we forget God, there is neither peace nor justice. Secularism is jeopardizing the future of our society.  When we forget God, we forget our dignity and that of our neighbor as creatures in the divine image. When we deny that we all come from God’s hands, we lose respect for each other.

The Eucharist is the remembrance of the event that saves us: the death and resurrection of Christ. The Eucharist is the source of love. True love is largely absent from our society. When we do not feel loved, we become violent. Nevertheless, we are all loved by the Father. We are not abandoned orphans. Those who experience God’s infinite love are builders of peace. Today’s responsorial psalm says: “He has granted peace in your borders; with the best of wheat he fills you” (Ps 147:14). Let us allow ourselves to be filled with God’s love.

When Christ is in us, we do not accuse others. We forgive them and have pity on them for their sins and mistakes. We weep for them. We pray for their conversion as we pray for our own, because we all need God’s mercy. Evil and sin are not only external but are in us.  Perhaps we cannot change the country directly but we can change ourselves. It is the changed person who changes the world. This has always been true.

We need Christ. We need his body and blood. We need the Eucharist. Let us ask the living bread to nourish our hearts. May we always live the fruits of our redemption.  Amen.