This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, often referred to as “Corpus Christi.” The Eucharist is our greatest Treasure, and is at the center of our life as Catholics. Jesus tells us clearly, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” (Jn. 6:53-54) We believe that when Jesus said “This is my body….This is my blood” during the Last Supper, he meant what he said. And he gave his Apostles and their successors the power to “do this,” that is, to continue to transform bread and wine into his living Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
We call the transformation of bread and wine into the living presence of Christ transubstantiation. The bread and wine keep their outward appearance in every respect, but the reality—the substance—is changed. After the Consecration of the Mass, they are no longer bread and wine. They are the living presence of Jesus Christ. To be sure, this is beyond our power to understand completely, although we know that with God all things are possible.
As we celebrate this great solemnity, let’s remember also that the word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving” in Greek. Let’s give thanks for the great Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, and lead lives characterized by gratitude and love.