Solemnity of the Body & Blood of the Lord (A)
June 26, 2011
There was a time the Solemnity of Corpus Christi was celebrated with solemn processions, Benedictions, and many benedictions at select stations all over the main thoroughfares of every parish everywhere. Those were the days before clogged traffic blocked our streets … before sidewalks disappeared to Disneyland like, multi-colored lamp posts that would change with the change of administration … before religious pluralism and downright indifference took over our culture, and relegated purely “religious” matters, so called, to private chapels and oratories.
The disappearance or waning of the practice, however, is not to say the faith in the Real Presence of the Eucharistic Lord is also gone. It is here. It is alive. It is real. And it is here to stay … more in our hearts, if not in our streets… more in our thoughts and minds, if not in practice.
Come to think of it, the Real Presence of the Lord under the appearance of bread is what sacramentality is all about. It is about being felt. It is about being touched. It is about being seen, tasted, and shared. And today, minus the solemn, and well-attended procession of yore, we pause awhile. We reflect. And we bend our knees and humble ourselves in silent adoration and worship.
The Real Presence that we adore means exactly what it says. It does not mean it is just symbolic. It does not mean that the bread merely represents the Lord. It does not mean that what we see and feel and touch – and taste! – is just a stand-in for the real Person – Christ the Lord!
No! Real presence of the Eucharistic Lord means He is all here, exactly as He was present to Joseph and Mary in Nazareth. The Real Presence means that he is truly and really here with us, just as He was present in the manger in Bethlehem … just as He was present in the Upper Room, just right after He rose from the dead and showed himself to the fearful disciples gathered together for fear of the Jews!
This, I submit, is a little hard to understand nowadays. Everything we see is representation and make-believe. The big stars we see on TV appear perfect, flawless, with hardly a trace of blemish in their skins, with hardly any extra unwanted and unsightly pound on their bodies. They are dressed perfectly, made-up flawlessly, and presented as the epitome of physical perfection.
But all this is farce. All this is a chimera. All this is a false front. For, let us face it … no one has flawless skin. No one has perfect beauty in mould or mind! No one has the ultimate body to die for with nothing else to desire. No one has everything. No one is perfectly satisfied. Everything we see courtesy of mass media is less than real … less than fully objective … less than fully real. Lights, camera angles, heavy make-up, and other high –tech trickeries present not what is real and true, but what is ideal – and – fake!
Today, the Church speaks of real presence. There is a familiar, though strange, ring to it. For only God can claim what is perfectly and truly REAL! Only God can truly claim to show the real, not the fake and the false. Only God can claim to have chosen to become less than His actual stature. Only He could choose to become man like us, like unto us in everything except sin! Only God can truly present Himself, warts and all, wounds and scars, and a broken Body bruised and derided, and shared for the life of the world!
He did not have to resort to a make-believe world of theatrics. No .. He truly suffered. He was truly born. He lived a life of simplicity and hard work as a carpenter. He brushed shoulders with fisherfolk, with learned and simple people, by the Lake of Galilee. He was God incarnate!
God incarnate! This is the whole point about the Real Presence!
Under the specie of Bread and Wine, we see God become flesh, God become Bread – the Bread of Life!
We hear Him today speak about Himself: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” He is what He claims to be. We receive Him at Mass. We adore Him after Mass and during Mass. We extend, as much as is possible, his presence in our midst at Benediction. We cast our adoring and worshipful stare during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. For He fulfills His promise to us. “Behold, I am with you all days, until the end of the world!”
Our times are no different from Jesus’ times. There are those, who, like then, refuse to believe. “How can he give us his flesh to eat?” For they were looking at what they were used to – a world of fakes and a world filled with theatrics and make-believe. They saw a world “cared for” and “benevolently ruled” by Romans who simply wanted to take advantage of them and gain more power. They saw a world of false prophets who were out only for themselves. They saw a world populated by Pharisees and Sadducees whose only apparent interest was to protect their own turfs against one another, and safeguard their empty traditions that touched the mind and the body, but not the heart and the soul.
We are in today for a taste of the Real Thing, not a fake and a false claimant to prestige and glory. We have the real Lord of Lords who saved the world by becoming a suffering servant. We are in today for a treat of the only Real – the ultimate in truth who claimed to be the “way, the truth, and the life.”
He is Jesus Christ. Lord. Savior. Son of God. Man. God. God become man, become bread, become like us. To save us. To make us become like Him. Like God.
He is true. True to His word. True to His Father. True to us. Truly man, truly God. Truly present now in our midst in the Eucharist. Come, let us adore Him!