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The Literal Truth of Christ

"While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, 'Take it; this is my body.' Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, 'This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.'"

A reflection from Father Tudgay for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

They were with him until this point. And then they went away. They couldn’t handle the “hard saying” of the command that was given. It was too absurd. “Eat my flesh…Drink my blood…what on Earth”! And here we have the initial reception of the central mystery of the centrality of Catholic worship…the mystery of the Eucharist and its initial rejection by a number of Christ’s followers.

This weekend is another significant insertion of a major feast in the Church’s liturgical year. The celebration of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ invites us to reflect in gratitude on the gift of Christ’s presence to us in the Eucharist. This feast draws our attention to the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus at the Last Supper as the perpetual and living memorial of his sacrificial death in the Church. Following the development the liturgical texts by Saint Thomas Aquinas, in celebration of the deepening of the doctrine of transubstantiation, the Church’s focus shifted to a deeper appreciation of Christ’s enduring presence in the Eucharist, which keeps our identity as Catholics rooted in the greatest expression of his love for us.

There’s a risk, though. The risk is to bracket or compartmentalize the reality of the Eucharist either to doctrine or to the personal worship of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharistic species. Drawing from our worship of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, our unity as Christ’s body in the world means that the Eucharist, august as it is, bears fruit in the world by being sublimated through the way we live our lives, both in our personal holiness and by the mercy we show to others. In short, the Eucharist is Jesus’ enduring and sublime gift to the Church. Like all gifts given, in gratitude, we give it away in generosity for the salvation of the world. Let us not reject, like some, the demands placed upon us by sharing in the body and blood of Christ. The radical demands of charity and love may seem absurd. Living that challenge is faith and obedience is how the Eucharist truly transforms us!


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption.

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