Browsing Homilies

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Ex 24:3-8 | Ps 116 | Heb 9:11-15 | Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

Jesus had a body.

This may seem obvious, but if you’re anything like me, my mind immediately thinks of the Eucharist when someone mentions the Body and Blood of Christ. Although what we have in the Eucharist, where the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, is an amazing mystery that we have access to every single day, it may be limiting to think only of a piece of bread and a chalice filled with wine when we think about Christ’s body and blood.

Jesus had a body, a physical body just like you and me. He had blood coursing through his veins, giving his body life, movement, and warmth. He was not only fully divine but also fully human, which meant that he experienced all the things that come with being human. Jesus experienced the joys of growing up, of watching the sun rise and set, a full stomach after a meal, meeting a new friend, or embracing a nice warm hug.

He also experienced the struggles that come with being human. He probably jammed his toes against the doorpost or got sunburned from working outside during the day. Just like us, Jesus probably came home exhausted from the day’s work and woke up in the morning wanting to pull the blanket over his head and press the snooze button. Even further, Jesus entered into family life with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth. This was a tiny farming village, high on a hill and far from the main trade routes. It was the last place anyone would look for the Messiah of Israel. This even prompted Nathaniel to pose the question: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” He was not raised in a sterilized or privileged environment like we can sometimes imagine, but rather he grew up in a place of poverty, where food and clean water may have been scarce, and surviving to the next day wasn’t exactly a guarantee.

In his divinity, Jesus entered fully into our humanity. With his body and blood, Jesus takes all of our humanity and makes it divine. Jesus takes all of his divinity into the lowest depths of our humanity. He doesn’t just dip his feet into our humanity by living a life of luxury like a king might deserve. Rather, he dives into the depths of our humanity where he enters into the lives of the poor. He jumps into a life where he is marginalized, made vulnerable, cast out, and suffers like so many in the world today. He speaks to those people who live between dirt walls, who have no access to clean water, who cannot afford to eat every day. Even into that, Jesus enters fully and makes it divine.

So, when Jesus says, “This is my body” and “This is my blood,” he isn’t talking about a perfect, muscular, six-pack, toned and sculpted body, but rather his very own fragile body, callused and hardened by years of labor and hard work, one that experienced illness and fatigue, one that will be beaten, scourged, and pierced.

That is the body that Jesus offers to us in the Eucharist. That is what we receive (who we receive) when we say “Amen” to “The body of Christ.” And that is what we become (who we become) when we receive the Body of Christ.

When we consume the Eucharist, we become the Body and Blood of Christ. We are not only taken into the divinity of Christ but also taken into communion with the entire Catholic family all around the world, past, present, and future. We can enter into the joys of people who get married, or the sorrow of those who just lost a loved one. We can enter into and empathize with those who, like Jesus, are poor, vulnerable, and marginalized.

We are called to be the body of Christ in action to others by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.

As we receive and become the Body and Blood of Christ, may we enter into the very depths of humanity and discover the divine!


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