Readings: Exodus 24:3-8, Ps. 116:12-13,15-18, Hebrews 9:11-15, Mark 14:12-16,22-26

“While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it, he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them, all drinking from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’” (Mark 14:22-24)

Dear friends, today we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which in Latin is known as “Corpus Christi.” You may wonder why there is a special feast to celebrate something we do every day, be it morning Mass or Sunday Mass. As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. The great abuses we find today are a testament to the fact that we can take this great gift for granted. Today’s Feast serves three purposes: reminder, renewal, and re-awakening.

1. Holy Communion is a Covenant
The first purpose of today’s feast is to remind us that Holy Communion is a blood covenant. Our first reading traces the origin of Holy Communion in the Old Testament. Moses built an Altar and took the blood of all the oxen offered by the people. Half of the blood he poured into basins, half he threw on the Altar.

Moses then took the Book of the Covenant, the book containing God’s instructions, and read it to the people. They all said, “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do, and we will be obedient.” Having received their consent, Moses took the blood in the basin and sprinkled it on the people.

Come to think of it, this is exactly what happens at every mass. First, we listen to the readings from the Book of the Covenant and the homily. Then we rise to profess the Creed, agreeing to do everything contained in the readings. Then we proceed to the Eucharist. Now, the priest does not sprinkle ordinary blood on us; we get to drink the blood of Christ and eat His flesh.

This is what our second reading today teaches us: “When Christ came as a high priest, He entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls sanctifies those who have been defiled, how much more will the blood of Christ purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!” (Hebrews 9:11-14)

2. Holy Communion Purifies Our Conscience
The book of Hebrews says that in Holy Communion, we are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, which purifies our conscience from dead works to the worship of the living God. This is the point Jesus Christ himself made when He said: “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53). In other words, if we stay away from Holy Communion, we become living dead – we have no life in us.

Meanwhile, if we must come forward for Holy Communion, we must ensure that we are in a State of Grace; we have prepared ourselves by abstaining from sin or going to confession. As we have seen above, before we step forward for communion, we must have decided to obey everything written in the Book of the Covenant (the Holy Bible).

Without this spiritual preparation, we would be doing great harm to ourselves. In the words of St. Paul, “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:28-29).

Do not come forward if you do not believe that it is Jesus Christ you are about to receive. Do not come forward to give others the impression that you are holy. It is not a show. Do not come forward if you do not intend to repent your sins or begin a new life. Holy Communion works great wonders, but without active faith on your part, it would seem like eating ordinary bread.

3. Jesus is Truly Present in the Holy Communion
The second purpose of today’s feast is to renew our faith in God’s true presence in the Holy Eucharist. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus did not say, “This is like my body.” He didn’t say, “This reminds you of my body.” He neither said, “This is an image or a symbol of my body.” No. Jesus said, “This is My Body! This is My Blood.”

Holy Communion is not merely a symbol of the body and blood of Jesus. It is Jesus’ real flesh and blood. This is why we worship Jesus in the Eucharist. We know that He is fully present in the Tabernacle. If you see me kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament or fully prostrated or even using my head to touch the floor in front of the monstrance, it is because I recognise the presence of God. If you consider this idolatry, what would you say of Moses’ action in our first reading of today?

We may sing and dance to all the worship songs in the world, read the entire bible, pray in all the world's languages, etc., but without Holy Communion, our worship is not complete. As a Catholic, I do not turn the church into an entertainment centre of sorts or dress half-naked because I know I am coming into the presence of God. I do not shout at the top of my voice when I pray because I know that God is not far away but is right here with me in the Tabernacle. I touch God and kiss Him when I come to receive Holy Communion. This is why I love my Catholic Faith.

4. Holy Communion is our Ticket to Heaven.
Today’s feast re-awakens us spiritually to our true identity. As Jesus tells us in John 6:54, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him at the last day.” If we eat and drink the body and blood of Christ, we are no longer ordinary human beings. Just as a covenant entitles us to certain benefits, Holy Communion makes us recipients of the promised eternal inheritance.

Do you wonder what gave the saints so much power to do these extraordinary deeds which we remember today? It is the faithful and fervent reception of Holy Communion worthily throughout their lives. Look at it this way: when we strive each day to receive Jesus in a state of purity, Jesus comes into us to strengthen us further with His special grace so that we can live above sin. As such, with Jesus working inside us, we can resist temptations, and when the evildoers come near us, they would flee because light and darkness cannot intermingle.

With constant Holy Communion, you cannot miss heaven. This is why Jesus gave it to us in the first place. Jesus knows that we are humans, flesh and blood, weak creatures. He knows that we cannot resist sin if we are left to our strength and willpower. He knows we will always need supernatural strength, so Jesus gave us Himself in Holy Communion. Without communion, you have no life in you.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, increase my love and devotion to your true presence in the Holy Eucharist. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. May God's abundant blessings be upon us all. (Corpus Christi - Solemnity. Bible Study: Exodus 24:3-8, Ps. 116:12-13,15-18, Hebrews 9:11-15, Mark 14:12-16,22-26).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu