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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Eucharist is the Source and the Summit of the Christian Life

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 3, 2018
Hospital Chaplaincy, Long Island, New York

“By the Eucharistic Celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all” (CCC 1326)

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ popularly known as Corpus Christi. It was introduced in the late 13th century to encourage the faithful to give special adoration to the Holy Eucharist.

Later, it was extended to the entire Latin Church by Urban IV in 1264 and became a mandatory feast of the universal church in 1312. Traditionally, this solemnity is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. However, where it is not a holy day of obligation, it is celebrated on the Sunday following the Trinity Sunday.

As we celebrate Corpus Christi today, both our first and second readings (Ex 24:3-8 and Her 9:11-15) talk about covenant, sacrifice, and blood. According to the first reading, the old covenant was sealed with the blood of animal sacrifice which Moses sprinkled on the people. Subsequently, the second reading reminds us that the new covenant was sealed with the blood of Christ. 

The sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ is the game changer. While the first covenant never guaranteed eternal life, the new one does because it was sealed with costly Blood through a perfect sacrifice offered once and for all.

In the Gospel (Mark 14:12-16, 22-26), Christ celebrated the First Holy Eucharist. Here He is both priest and victim. This is another
difference between the new and the old covenant. As the Priest, Christ offered Himself to God for our salvation. So, it is important to note that whenever we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, Christ is fully present both as the Priest and as the Victim.

He accomplishes his priesthood through the actions of the human priest, who is alter Christus (another Christ) and, who acts in persona Christi (in the Person of Christ). On the other hand, He accomplishes His role as a victim in the form of bread and wine. All these put together is what we refer to as the “action of grace.”

The church teaches us that: “The Eucharist is the source and the summit of the Christian life…For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself…The Eucharist is also the culmination both of God’s action, sanctifying the world in Christ and, of the worship men offer to Christ… In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith.” (CCC 1324-5).

Therefore, today’s celebration is a celebration of life, salvation and grace. It teaches us that as real food, the Eucharist is the True Body and Blood of Christ which nourishes our soul. It is a concrete way through which Christ is divinely present with us every day and moment.

So, when we share in the celebration of the Eucharist, we share in the life of Christ the Head and, in the life of the Church, His Body. This means that we must pay more attention to the Holy Eucharist by spending more time in His Divine Presence. If we present ourselves before Him daily, He will fill us with wisdom and show us the best way to approach life.

This means that we should adore and offer Christ the reverence due to Him. Any moment
spent in the Presence of the Most Holy Sacrament is both a golden moment and a moment of grace. Let us adore Christ saying: “Oh Sacrament Most Holy; Oh, Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be yours in every moment and time.”

Please read about Father Joe's home town in Africa, which is literally dying of thirst in the dry season and needs a way to drill for water underground. A Deep Down Thirst

(As I conclude I urge you to Pray One Our Father, One Hail Mary and One Glory Be..for me as I celebrate my 4th Priestly Anniversary on 7th June).

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