This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Also known as “Corpus Christi”. A feast that allows us to look back to wonder and thank God for the great gifts with which He has blest humanity throughout history. But most of all, for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, offered to us every time we celebrate the Eucharist.
Starting from the first reading the Church looks back at the wonders that took place during the Exodus. Without bouts, the single greatest experience the people of Israel had in all their history. It was indeed a time of trial, but it was also the moment when God gave His people two of the greatest gifts they ever received. Firstly, the Manna, that strange flaky stuff “like white coriander seeds” which appeared every morning in the Israelite camp. So strange and alien it was to them that they named it Manna, which means “What is it?” But regardless, it was providential, it kept them from dying of starvation, and the taste was pleasant, “it was like wafers made with honey”. It was a real gift from heaven. So much so that they kept a jar of it to put it in the Ark of the Covenant as a reminder to future generations, together with Aron’s staff. Incidentally, that Ark had been built to contain the second gift they received from God in the desert: the Torah (The Law). That way, both their physical and their spiritual food were kept together, as an everlasting memorial of God’s love and providence.
But God had yet another gift in mind for us, one that would surpass all the gifts of the past: His own Son. He descended to us assuming a human body and a human soul, to offer His whole self – His divinity and His humanity, His soul and His divinised, resurrected and transfigured body – as the ultimate gift and food for us. And, although, this gift of His whole self happened once and for all, He left us the Eucharist, as the sacrament of His death and resurrection so that what happened in past history may become present and real for us once again. That way, all who receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist experience with him His death and resurrection. There is no greater gift, no better food, no stronger encouragement, until we can be with Him for ever, in body and spirit, in heaven.
Traditionally, we have marked this Solemnity with processions, exposition of the blessed sacrament and many other devotions. This year however none of those things will take place. But it should not escape our attention the fact that God, in his providential design, has arranged this Solemnity to mark the reopening of our churches. We won’t be able to celebrate public Mass just yet, but we will be allowed nonetheless, to come and visit the Blessed Sacrament once again*.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
* For more information about the opening of the Church visit the News section of the website.