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Friday, 09 June 2023 17:49

Corpus Christi - The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Fr Yon Wiryono SVD 150Not long ago, we celebrated Easter. During the Easter season, we reflected on the story of the Risen Christ appearing to his disciples. Jesus whom they encounter after the resurrection is not the same Jesus they spent time with during his life and ministry with them, but, is, rather, the Resurrected Jesus, the Risen Lord, The Christ. In other words, they do not encounter the historical Jesus anymore, but it is the Risen Lord whose presence is beyond space and time. It is Christ who they encounter. To put in the context of our solemnity this weekend, we don’t call it the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus, but the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Hopefully, we notice the difference. Keep in mind also, during Communion, the priest or eucharistic minister says the Body of Christ, and we say: Amen! Notice the mention of Christ there!

The holy bread of the Communion during the MassOn this celebration, we are reminded again of Christ’s real presence in the host and wine that become his body and blood, his true presence in the Eucharist. At the same time, we are also reminded of our identity as the living Body of Christ. Christ is alive and working in and through us, and so, we are meant to be the living presence of Christ. St Paul puts it this way “it is not I, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Therefore, the Eucharist is the celebration of the living body of Christ, of which we are part. Let’s remind ourselves again today, as we approach the altar to receive Communion; when the minister says the Body of Christ and we respond Amen, our Amen also means that yes, I’m also the living body of Christ.

Consequently, we become part of the Body of Christ. The implication should be shown in our witness and mission. If people are to know Christ, it can be only through us. We need to be aware of this truth: that Christ is living and acting through each one of us as the living body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the branches attached to and nourished from Jesus as the wine. If we understand this, we know how important is the Eucharist for our lives and faith, the daily bread that we ask for when we pray the Our Father. It is a life-giving bread for us the living body of Christ. It is what the Gospel proclaims this Sunday, “He is the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever!

I would like to offer this reflection as one of the ways for us to live as the living Body of Christ. In the context of movies, art, or any literature, we may have heard of the phrases “Jesus-Figure” and “Christ-Figure.” As film reviewer Fr Peter Malone explains, “Jesus-Figure” refers to any representation of Jesus himself. We know it through the work of arts that picture the image of Jesus, or in the movies about Jesus. The personal name of Jesus is used for the Jesus-Figure.

Nevertheless, Christ-Figure is different. “Christ-Figure” describes as any figure in the arts who resembles Jesus. A “Christ-Figure” is a character who possesses qualities or experiences events similar to those of Jesus Christ, as he is portrayed in the Gospel. “Christ-Figure” could be a man or women who plays a role as a saviour, showing love and compassion, doing many good works, sacrificing for the benefits of others, and many other examples. In the context of movies or other literature, sometimes, writers use their characters to represent Christ in different ways. These symbolic characters are known as Christ-Figures.

Perhaps for us, as the living Body of Christ, in our context in real life, we can think of our modern saints; Mother Teresa, Mary MacKillop, Oscar Romero, etc who inspire us to be Christ-Figures in real life. We can think of someone very close and special to us who became a Christ-Figure in our lives. Most importantly, we, as the living body of Christ, inspired by others who are Christ-Figures to us, are called to be the Living Body of Christ, becoming the Christ-Figure in this life. Nevertheless, we can only do this through our connectedness with Christ through the Eucharist, “whoever eats me will draw life from me”. Whoever becomes a Christ-Figure in this world, must draw life from Christ through the Eucharist. And so, we are commissioned, we are sent into the world as the living Body of Christ, living out our call as Christ-Figures in and to the world!