While celebrating the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, popularly known as Corpus Christi, we are reminded of one of the basic truths we believe as Catholics. Namely, that Jesus Christ is truly present with us under the appearance of bread and wine. We are reminded that the Eucharist is not a merely human action, nor it is a communal gathering, but a Real Presence during which people are united with God in the most intimate way. We find this especially in the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, which we call Holy Communion, which ultimately leads us to union with God. Thus, the Eucharist is not a mere symbol! When we go to Mass it is Jesus Christ Himself whom we receive and are united too through the species of bread and wine. It is an awesome reality of God’s presence.
St. John Paul II wrote: "the Eucharist is the central sacrament by which the whole Church lives." However, many today have a problem with accepting the doctrine of THE REAL PRESENCE of Christ in the Eucharist. This feast helps us to emphasize this truth, that although we still see the bread and wine, even after the words of the consecration, it is no longer bread and wine, but Christ Himself in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is primarily God’s action; it is Jesus’ sacrifice made present again in a purely spiritual way but expressed in a bodily form of bread and wine transformed (consecrated) into Christ’s Body and Blood. The fact that it is spiritual, however, does not mean that it is not real. It is real as it can be. God is mysteriously present in the sacramental signs of bread and wine in such a way as He became present in Jesus, God-Man, who lived and walked on this earth. And He is present differently. In a way, He is present "more" in the consecrated bread and wine than in the nature, the trees, the animals or even the people. He is present humbly so that all who believe might have an easy access to Him without fear.
If it is all true, we must prepare ourselves in order to receive the Eucharist worthily. We must remember: The Eucharist is not a cookie! It is the mysterium tremendum, an awesome and terrible mystery beyond human comprehension—an encounter with The Living God. Thus, we must be prepared, otherwise it becomes sacrilegious or a mockery of our faith. No one can truly appreciate the Eucharist if he/she does not want to repent. Thus those who live in a state of mortal sin should not receive Holy Communion until they are reconciled with the Church in the sacrament of penance. Of course, one may say that Jesus came to all people, so everybody should have "a right" to receive communion. It is true that Jesus came to everyone, but not everyone was ready to accept Him even when He was still walking on earth. Only those who repented and accepted His teaching were able to enjoy the graces He bestowed upon them. So it is today.
As we open the churches after long months of pandemic, let us pray for greater appreciation of the gift of the Eucharist. Let ask the Blessed Mother to help us to better understand this great mystery and truly prepare our hearts, minds, and bodies for worthy reception of the Christ in Holy Communion.
God love you. Fr. Janusz Mocarski, Administrator