Gospel Reflections

Feast of Corpus Christi

Luke 9:11b-17

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Rebeca Spires

Published: May 26, 2016

How good indeed is our good God who gives himself to us so totally, so tenderly, so intimately. He is at once our nourishment, our life, our sustenance, our all. On this beautiful feast, the readings from Genesis, Corinthians and the multiplication of the loaves and fishes teach us to give, to share and to be present respectfully and joyfully to one another. But today, instead of reflecting the readings, I want to share with you what Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament means to me personally.

My family is Protestant and our matriarch, Grandma Smith, taught all to “Do good, avoid evil and go to church on Sunday,” which all of her children and grandchildren faithfully did. Thus I had worshiped in many different churches in my early childhood. At age six, I went into a Catholic church for the first time. Now, 68 years later, the memory is vivid. I was drawn to the tabernacle like a magnet draws iron. The presence was so intense that I was in utter awe. Soon my sister and I asked to become Catholic, explaining to our mother that “We have been in church every Sunday of our lives, many different churches, but this one is special: God lives in this church.” And now I am a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. For me, the crucial, life-changing, impacting God experience of my life is intimately linked to the Eucharist.

Now in my 46th year in the Amazon region of Brazil, I know the Eucharistic Jesus as more than Jesus in the tabernacle. This real presence, this intimate embrace, this loving, sustaining, nourishing presence of Jesus is ever with us even, perhaps more so, in the communities deep in the jungle who seldom have Mass. These communities know that God is with them, that he is their force, their energy, their sustenance. They know that they are the Body of Christ and must therefore do as he did. They work together and share what they have. They celebrate the joy and glory of God’s great love. This is Eucharist; this is the Body of Christ.

So at Mass, at the consecration, repeat the words: “This is my body, given up for you.” meaning your body, together with Jesus’ body. And “This is my blood shed for all.” is your blood, your life ready to be given with his for all. Corpus Christi – the feast of total giving, a lifetime of total giving, a lifetime of receiving and dwelling in God who dwells in us.

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