The revelation of our Triune God formed the focus of our celebration last Sunday. This mystery along with the incarnation of Christ are the two most fundamental mysteries of our Christian Faith. All other mysteries of the faith are founded upon and flow from these two. This is true for today‘s celebration, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, which is more commonly known as Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi parallels the mystery of the Incarnation. In the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, whom we call the Son, entered into our world by taking on the fulness of our humanity. Along with receiving our humanity as his own, he took to himself a human name—Jesus. This name is made sacred by it union to the God-man. As such, St. Paul proclaims “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ is similar. Once again, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity enters our world. He enters, not by assuming our humanity, which he already possesses, but by passing with both humanity and divinity into the appearances of bread and wine at the Mass. Just as at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, so too do our knees bend before the Eucharist, in which he is present.
Somehow, in a way we do not fully understand, the Lord becomes fully present to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. This is no mere symbolic representation, but reality. It conforms to his own words and promise. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” Then, on the night before he was to die, “he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.‘ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.‘”
We honor the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist in various ways. Our knees bend in prayer and genuflection at Mass. We keep a red candle always burning when he is present in the tabernacle. We spend time in adoring His presence when exposed for veneration in a monstrance. We also carry Him in procession, which we will do this Sunday.
Both Pope Francis in Rome and we here in Walla Walla, will carry the Eucharist in honor, reverence and adoration through the streets of our town. At 1:30PM our procession will begin at St. Patrick. With prayer and praise we will walk along with Christ in the Eucharist. It is like the disciples walking along with the Lord on the road to Emmaus or a mini-pilgrimage. In this way we both give honor to our Lord in his humble presence and deepen our love and appreciation for this presence in the Eucharist.
Praised be Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar! Now and forever!