This Sunday we celebrate the solemnity of Corpus Christi, The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. On this great day we acknowledge in a special way the institution of the Holy Eucharist. It is marked by special displays of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, including Eucharistic Processions and Eucharistic Congresses. Our Church teaches that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has stated, “The Body of Christ is the bread of the end times, capable of giving life, and eternal life, because the substance of the bread is love,” and that Christ is himself, “the living bread that gives life to the world.”
As reported in the publication, The National Catholic Register, Pope Francis noted that St. Paul’s recounting of the Institution of the Eucharist in his First Letter to the Corinthians is “the oldest testimony we have to the words of Christ at the Last Supper.” By telling the disciples, “Do this”, Christ gives the command to repeat his own actions, by which he gives us his own Body and Blood. Our Holy Father also stated, “Jesus gives the command to repeat this action, by which he instituted the memorial of his own Pasch, and in so doing, gives us his Body and Blood. This action reaches us today: It is the ‘doing’ of the Eucharist which always has Jesus as it subject, but which is made real through our poor hands anointed by the Holy Spirit.”
The Archdiocese of Atlanta, on this weekend of the solemnity of Corpus Christi, sponsored its 2018 Eucharistic Congress at the Georgia International Convention Center. The theme of the Congress was, “That They All May Be One.” It was selected from the Gospel of John. As in past years, the Congress began on Friday evening with Mass and a healing service. It continued Saturday morning with a procession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A Benediction service followed. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration was available throughout most of the day. Various dynamic speakers including Bishop Robert Barron, well known for his highly acclaimed series, “Catholicism”, were present to give powerful witness to their faith journey. The Congress concluded Saturday evening with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gregory. At the Congress, we acknowledged the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and we reaffirmed His presence by going forth as witnesses of his gospel message to the world around us.
Today at Mass, as we reflect on the words of Pope Francis, and as we appreciate the importance of the Eucharistic Congress, we can bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist and then go forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need. Since the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks”, we can thank the Lord for the gift of the Eucharist and for the opportunity to serve Him and those in need as we continue on our journey of faith.