Corpus Christi 2017


            “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” I am frequently reminded by the nurse who looks after me at my local surgery that, “You are what you eat.” She is a fervent Baptist, so I doubt she realises the theological implications of speaking to a Catholic like that. “You are what you eat.”


            St Basil wrote, “Through the Holy Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations – we become God.” In the Creed we proclaim, “Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine et homo factus est.” Through the Holy Spirit God becomes man and through the Holy Spirit we become God. St Paul is really saying the same thing when he writes to the Corinthians: “The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf.”


            Through our communion with the Body and Blood of Christ, we become one with him and, together, we become one in him. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.” These are the words of Jesus in John’s Gospel. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God became incarnate and through the power of the Holy Spirit bread and wine become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats me draws life from me. Whoever eats this bread will live for ever.”


            Today we give thanks for God’s infinite love and mercy and we give thanks for the particular way in which he chose to save us and share his life with us. God’s way is that of total self-giving, the way of the Cross. Jesus invites us to enter into communion with his death and resurrection by dying ourselves to sin, to all that separates us from God and goes against his will.  We are not mere passive recipients of the sacraments, but are called by God to cooperate actively, fully in Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. This is our Christian vocation. We too give our lives for the salvation of the world. “This is my body. This is my blood.” Total configuration to Christ, this is the meaning of the Mass, of Holy Communion and of Eucharistic Adoration. It is a two-way process.


            May our adoration and praise today lead us to a deeper commitment to live our lives in Christ, so that Christ can live his life in us. His words, “Do this in memory of me,” take us beyond the Eucharistic celebration to a life lived as Eucharist, a life of sacrifice and self-giving, a life of praise and thanksgiving, a life centred on Christ, a life in Christ, until God’s glory, love and mercy are fully manifested in each one of us and God is all in all. Amen.