The Ultimate Gift

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Sunday, June 23, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate a glorious feast, one through which we can trace the continuing evolution of Eucharistic theology.


Some of us will remember celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi, perhaps as children. The Host, carried in a beautiful monstrance, was processed through the neighborhood, bringing blessing to all who gathered.

Where did they get all those men!!!!

While a rare occurrence today, and considered by some a saccharine expression of devotionalism, the practice was intended to convey a central belief of our faith. It is a belief whose theology continues to evolve and deepen with the passing years:

In the gift of Eucharist,
Jesus Christ has made us
one Body with Him.
We are One Body in Christ.

A significant step in the evolution of this theology occured with the issuing of the encyclical MYSTICI CORPORIS CHRISTI ( Pope Pius XII, 1943). In this letter, we see a theology beginning to unfold to include not only Christ’s presence on the altar and in the Host, but in the very lives of the faithful.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist is itself a striking and wonderful figure of the unity of the Church, if we consider how in the bread to be consecrated many grains go to form one whole,and that in it the very Author of supernatural grace is given to us, so that through Him we may receive the spirit of charity in which we are bidden to live now no longer our own life but the life of Christ, and to love the Redeemer Himself in all the members of His social Body.

In his encyclical, ECCLESIA DE EUCHARISTIA (2003), Pope John Paul II, expands this teaching:

By the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the Church was born and set out upon the pathways of the world, yet a decisive moment in her taking shape was certainly the institution of the Eucharist in the Upper Room. Her foundation and wellspring is the whole Triduum paschale, but this is as it were gathered up, foreshadowed and “concentrated’ for ever in the gift of the Eucharist. In this gift Jesus Christ entrusted to his Church the perennial making present of the paschal mystery. With it he brought about a mysterious “oneness in time” between that Triduum and the passage of the centuries.

The infinite mystery of God’s relationship with us in Jesus Christ continues to call us to deeper understanding of our relationship with one another. Let us pray today for greater love and fuller surrender of our hearts to this awesome, self-emptying mystery.

At the heart of the Christian faith shines an open table without exclusion, where Christ is the chef, the host, and the food of life. The broken bread and the pouring wine manifests the Divine attitude to welcome especially the ones who are brokenhearted, neglected, rejected and crushed. And we are transformed into the body and blood of boundless and creative love, incorporated into the same divine DNA as everyone else – regardless of species, ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, appearance, or social class. (Ivan Nicolleto)

(Brother Ivan Nicoletto, a Benedictine Camaldolese monk,  author and retreat director residing at Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley. He wrote Journey of Faith, Journey of the Universe. The Lectionary and the New Cosmology, published by Liturgical Press in 2015.)

Music: Somos El Cuerpo de Cristo- Jaime Cortez, Bob Hurd
(Lyrics below)

Somos el cuerpo de Cristo.
We are the body of Christ.
Hemos oído el llamado;
we’ve answered “Yes” to the call of the Lord.

Somos el cuerpo de Cristo.
We are the body of Christ.
Traemos su santo mensaje.
We come to bring the God’s News to the world.

Que nuestras acciones reflejen justicia;
Somos el cuerpo de Cristo.
Stopping abuse and relieving the hungry,
We are the body of Christ.

Vamos al mundo a cuidar su rebaño.
Somos el cuerpo de Cristo.
Serving each other we build up the kingdom;
We are the body of Christ.

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