Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. It is the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. In today’s Mass, in the Collect (Opening Prayer), we pray, “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. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.” In this prayer, we can pick out three important points. Number one, the prayer identifies what we celebrate today as a “Wonderful Sacrament.” A Sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, instituted by Jesus Christ. In the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, we see and receive the physical bread and the physical wine (outward signs) which give inward grace. There is more to it than meets the eye. It gives grace, it gives unmerited favor from God.

Number two, the prayer goes on to say that in this Wonderful Sacrament, God left us a memorial of the passion of Christ. This sacrament is like a vehicle that carries memory, and the memory is the memory of the passion of Christ. The word memory is very important in today’s celebration. In today’s first reading, approaching the Promised Land, Moses says to the children of Israel, “Remember how for forty years now the LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert…” Moses continues, “Do not forget the LORD, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery…” The sacrament we celebrate today was instituted on Holy Thursday. On that day, in instituting the Sacrament, Jesus said to his apostles, “Do this in memory of me.” Remember! Do not forget! Memory is a special gift from God to us. Memory helps to bring something from the past to the present and to prepare us for the future.

When we remember something from the past, it empowers us for the future, it makes us also responsible for the future. In the celebration of the Holy Mass, in the celebration of the Sacrament of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we remember the Passion of Christ and when we remember the Passion of Christ, it empowers us for the future, and it gives us responsibility for the future. As Mass, we remember that Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity suffered and died for us. That memory empowers us for the future, such that at the end of the Mass, when the priest or the deacon says “Go and announce the gospel of the Lord,” we go with a special empowerment, and we go with a unique responsibility. When we step out and people question us about our worth, we should be able to make it clear to them that our worth is not in our bank account, our worth is not in the size of our homes, not in our certificates, but in the fact that our God died for us. This memory empowers us to give no room to anyone to talk down on us, it is a reminder of our importance. We are so important that God had to die for us. When we remember that someone died and forgave us our sins, that memory gives us the responsibility to go out and forgive those who sin against us, for memory brings to the present, what happened in the past, and empowers us for the future while also giving us responsibility for the future.

Remember! Do not forget! At Mass, we hear the voice of Jesus. At Mass, we observe the actions of Jesus. He broke the bread at Mass. Why did he break the bread? He broke the bread not only to make it enough for those who partake in the bread, but to remind us that he had to break himself on the cross to feed us, and having broken himself to feed us, we now have the responsibility after the Mass to go outside and break ourselves for others. We go out to make ourselves uncomfortable to make others comfortable, we go out to take the burdens of others, we go out to make life worth living for others.

The third point from today’s prayer says, “…that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption.” So the redemption and the Passion that Christ went through now bear fruits for us to experience. But this experience is not imposed on us. It is possible for us to block this experience, and it is possible for us to block the fruits. That is why at Mass, we ask for mercy from God, we ask for extra grace from God, that we may be open to this experience. My dearly beloved in Christ, as we celebrate this Wonderful Sacrament the Most Holy Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, I pray that the receiving of the body and blood of Christ may bring us to everlasting life, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ochigbo

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