CORPUS CHRISTI AND THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

Today, we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi -- the Body of Christ which refers to the Mystery of the Incarnate Word of God, i.e., Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity -- the God-Man and also named “Emmanuel,” God with us.

In this revelation from God on that wondrous Holy Thursday night, we are given the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of Jesus Christ -- a Divine Person with a human nature hypostatically united (the union of the two natures {divine and human} in the one Divine Personality of Christ) -- “… continuing unimpaired, untransformed and unmixed with the other.” (Dogmatic Letter of Pope Leo 1st 449AD) God, therefore, came into our humanity so we could then participate sacramentally into His Divine Life. In this Revelation, we are thus given the on-going fulfillment of what God began in first creating “man in the image of God” -- the    humanity of Christ being the ultimate perfection of what it means to be in “the image and likeness of God” --“Be holy for I, the Lord your God am holy” (Lev 19:2).

Jesus Christ therefore shares with us His very “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity” through the institution of this Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist: “This is my body, take and eat; this is my blood, take and drink…” (CF: Lk 22:19-20). “…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life … (and) remains in me and I in him…” (Jn 6:54 -56). Here, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus is offering to share with us a participation in His Divine, eternal life. In our consuming the Flesh and Blood of Christ, in the Holy Eucharist, we experience the actuality expressed in His teaching in Luke and John: “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will not have everlasting life in you” -- meaning our now initially sharing sacramentally in the ecstasy of God’s eternal life -- the initiation into which came about by our being baptized in the death and Resurrection of Christ, as continually presented in the Mystery of the Mass.

Finally, this Feast Day reminds us that the Church for two thousand years has been called the “Body of Christ” (CF: Eph 5:23). And, it is this understanding that sheds light on St. Paul’s striking statement: “I make up what is wanting in the    sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Church!” The Church being revealed as the Body of Christ -- Christ as its Head and we as its Members (Col 1:18; Eph :5:30).

Now it is clear that there is nothing wanting in the sufferings of Christ for our Redemption, in as much as Christ as the Son of God, being obedient even to the death on the Cross, reconciled mankind to the heavenly Father. But in as much as God called us to be in His image and likeness, which reached its potential fulfillment in participating in the holiness of the humanity of Jesus Christ, and we have been called to be “perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect” -- a perfection found in Christ who revealed that, when we look upon Him, we see the Father (For I and the Father are one in the divinity). And this is found in its fulfillment when “the heavenly Father sees and loves in us what He sees and loves in His Son” (CF: Preface in the Mass); we then can understand that we, as being members of the Body of Christ, are in the process of joining with Christ in our own sufferings, with the sufferings of countless other believing souls yet to be joined to the ultimate transcendent sufferings of Christ, as we live out our lives on earth and until the second coming and final judgment.

This is implied in Scripture: “…living with Christ”(Jn 11:2), “suffering with Christ” (1 Pt 4:13), “dying with Christ,” “… so shall we be raised with him”(2 Tim 2:11). It is thus that we perceive a limited analogical participation in God’s gift to us of redemption by our living out our lives -- saying FIAT -- let it be done also to us -- where we exercise our free will to accepting His gift of Redemption and say, by the way we live, “yes” to the Mystery of the Incarnate Word of God which is to come to each of us in our own lives in accordance with the particular mission or missions which we are called upon to fulfill which God gives to us. And it is thus especially through our active, reverent participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that we enter most intimately into the Mystery of Corpus Christi -- the Body of Christ, in which we offer up with Christ to the heavenly Father all of our own sufferings for the redemption of Mankind -- offerings yet to be completed until the second coming of Christ -- such being the sufferings described by St. Paul as “wanting in Christ” -- namely our own participation in the sufferings of Christ -- eventually realizing the heavenly goal as expressed in the Liturgy of the Mass: “That the heavenly Father may see and love in us what he see and loves in his Son” -- that eternal moment where we forever experience the ecstasy of God’s gift to us and the revelational fullness of its meaning: “Let us make man in our image and likeness” (Gen 1:26) -- and actualized in the expression of St. Paul: “I live, now not I but Christ lives in me” -- the fullness of which is experienced in 1 Jn 3:2: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

 

Tags: Fr. Robert, Clergy Corner
 

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