Today we celebrate Corpus Christi feast. It is held on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.
Corpus Christi (Latin for “Body of Christ”) is a Western Catholic feast. Its purpose is to honour the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, and as such it does not commemorate a particular event in Jesus’ life.
Its celebration on a Thursday is meant to associate it with Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper, commemorated on Maundy Thursday. The feast is officially known as the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. At the end of the Mass, it is customary to have a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament (often outdoors), followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
This way of being present corresponds perfectly to the sacramental celebration of the Eucharist. Jesus Christ gives himself to us in a form that employs the symbolism inherent in eating bread and drinking wine. Furthermore, being present under the appearances of bread and wine, Christ gives himself to us in a form that is appropriate for human eating and drinking. Also, this kind of presence corresponds to the virtue of faith, for the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ cannot be detected or discerned by any way other than faith.
That is why St. Bonaventure affirmed: “There is no difficulty over Christ’s being present in the sacrament as in a sign; the great difficulty is in the fact that He is really in the sacrament, as He is in heaven. And so believing this is especially meritorious”.
By his Real Presence in the Eucharist, Christ fulfils his promise to be with us “always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). As St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “It is the law of friendship that friends should live together. Christ has not left us without his bodily presence in this our pilgrimage, but he joins us to himself in this sacrament in the reality of his body and blood”.
With this gift of Christ’s presence in our midst, the Church is truly blessed. As Jesus told his disciples, referring to his presence among them, “Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Mt 13:17). In the Eucharist the Church both receives the gift of Jesus Christ and gives grateful thanks to God for such a blessing. This thanksgiving is the only proper response, for through this gift of himself in the celebration of the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine Christ gives us the gift of eternal life.
Many questions will arise on this topic. Some of them are
1. Why does Jesus give himself to us as food and drink?
2. Why is the Eucharist not only a meal but also a sacrifice?
3. When the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, why do they still look and taste like bread and wine?
4. Does the bread cease to be bread and the wine cease to be wine?
5. Is it fitting that Christ’s Body and Blood become present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine?
6. Are the consecrated bread and wine “merely symbols”?
7. Do the consecrated bread and wine cease to be the Body and Blood of Christ when the Mass is over?
8. Why are some of the consecrated hosts reserved after the Mass?
9. What are appropriate signs of reverence with respect to the Body and Blood of Christ?
10. If someone without faith eats and drinks the consecrated bread and wine, does he or she still receive the Body and Blood of Christ?
11. If a believer who is conscious of having committed a mortal sin eats and drinks the consecrated bread and wine, does he or she still receive the Body and Blood of Christ?
12. Does one receive the whole Christ if one receives Holy Communion under a single form?
13. Is Christ present during the celebration of the Eucharist in other ways in addition to his Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament?
14. Why do we speak of the “Body of Christ” in more than one sense?
15. Why do we call the presence of Christ in the Eucharist a “mystery”?
Go to Answers Explained to get answers to all the above questions , explained in detail.
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