This Sunday we celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ, also called Corpus Christi. What newness does this feast bring to our life?
Bible Readings Exodus 24: 3-8 Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18 Hebrews 9: 11-15 Marc 14: 12-16, 22-26
Each time we celebrate a feast, no matter the number of times we may have already celebrated it, it’s always an occasion to make a step further not only in terms of knowledge but also in deepening our life as Christians. When we pose ourselves questions, even on the well-known practice, we save ourselves from falling into mere routine of a good Catholic who’s regular: I go to mass, I receive Holy Communion, I do adoration… We are enriched when we pose fresh questions even on our regular practice. And when we look around, certain events of life can stimulate us into becoming the disciples that Jesus wants to be. That’s why, perhaps, the recent event in Paris which made headlines in the French media can inspire us as we celebrate Corpus Christi.
Spiderman? Of course, you remember such superhero in American film. But he’s a fictional figure, on the contrary, the Spider-man in the French case -he’s real. It’s like a film, but it’s not.
Not until few days ago, no one could hear about this Spider-man. No one could care to search for his name; it’s enough to call him not only as immigrant, but illegal immigrant. This young man scaled four storeys, bare hand, to save a four-year child hanging on the balcony on the higher storey. It’s after his heroic action that we learnt this man is more than an illegal immigrant; he has name: Mamoudou Gassama, from Mali. When others watched helplessly to see a child hanging not only in the air, but also between life and death, and waiting for the Fire brigade to come; Mamoudou climbed in a Spider-man way.
When he was climbing I doubt if he had in mind how that act would change his life: being received by the French president, becoming French citizen, being incorporated in the Fire brigade, and turning instantly from illegal immigrant into a star. By the manner he swiftly went up, you have the impression that he was animated only by one objective of saving the child, even to the point of putting aside his own security.
Do we have to look elsewhere for an image to help us understand the meaning of this feast, Body and Blood of Christ?
In the Body and Blood we have Jesus who gives himself to us not only as food and drink, but also by his sacrifice on the cross. He emptied himself of glory of the son of God, became man like us, and even accepting shameful death (cf. Philippians 2:7); he did all that so that we may have life. It’s this giving of himself for others that we called to keep memory of him. And there’s no better way to keep memory of him than taking part in his act of love. Hence, participating in Holy Communion does not end simply with receiving the Eucharist; it’s prolonged in the manner we live with others, especially in giving ourselves for them. That’s the true adoration we can show to the one who came so that we may have life, life in abundance.
Then, you realise that this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, can’t be reduced to a simple popular piety; it has pertinent questions on the way we live in our today’s world, especially about the place of the other person.
Can I take a distance from myself?
In the contemporary society where individualism is occupying the central place, where what I want is the only supreme law, and where I can get into relation with others only when I can use them for my interests, in short, where the philosophy of life is: me first; then, this feast comes to reminder us that the other person is important also. And so, the question is: what’s the place of the other person in my life?
Lord, by the grace of the Holy Communion that I receive, on this feast of Corpus Christi, let me also be missionary of your self-giving love.
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