Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

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Reflections by Msgr. Lewis Gaetano, Canton, OH on Corpus Christi

Stewards of Christ’s Presence: the Body of Christ


This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ).   The feast celebrates who we are as a community of disciples and it remains a challenge for us as individuals and as a community, given our culture.  Our culture tends to objectify things around us primarily for their instrumental value – that is how they can be used for our good or pleasure.  My car is an object which is disposable at a certain point; my clothing is disposable at a certain point, either when the clothing wears out or goes out of style.  Unfortunately, this not only happens with material objects, but occurs with people and in our relationships.

People can become mere means to an end or seen as having simple instrumental value.   If someone wants to advance in a job, there are people who can be used in order to step further up the ladder – these persons become an instrument and object or my particular use.  In a marriage, a spouse can fulfill a desire for intimacy or happiness for a period of time – an object or instrument of my fulfillment or need which can then be disposed of when no longer able to fulfill my immediate desires or even long range goals.   The list can go on and on.

Today, we can reflect on St. Augustine who reminds us that “we are what we receive” in the Eucharist.  We celebrate our life as a Eucharistic Community, for we are the Mystical Body of Christ.  It is through our baptism that we are totally immersed into the life of Christ as God’s Beloved, and that immersion is deepened and intensified in the celebration of the Eucharist, continually transforming us into “that which we receive” – the Body of Christ.  In Christ’s Spirit we are brought to life as God’s people, bringing our communal life toward a greater fulfillment.

You will notice that I speak of God’s people and our communal life.   The emphasis is not on the “individualism” that characterizes our culture, but on that which we bring as individuals to the table of the Lord.  We bring our own personalities, our own gifts and talents, however we place them on the altar (represented in the gifts of bread and wine) so that the Lord may take us (unique personalities, gifts and talents) and transform us – allowing us to become a real presence in the world of Christ’s love.   Jesus the human face of God, continues the mission of His Father in the world, through the Mystical Body of Christ – the Church.

The Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, has a human face in you and in me.  We love in the name of Christ, we heal the broken-hearted in the name of Christ, and we forgive in the name of Christ.  All that we do as Church is in the name of Christ.  It is the grace of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to do the work of Christ, not our own power or our own willfulness or our own designs.  It is the love of God, through the grace of Jesus Christ and in the life of the Holy Spirit that we find our true meaning.  We come to the table, knowing that we each have a place at the table – and then we ask the Lord to transform our lives individually and as a community, enabling us to “become what we eat.”

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See new Vatican news portal. http://www.

See new Vatican news portal.

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Pope Benedict reflects on the relationship between Eucharist and Social Life

VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2011 (VIS) – At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Rome’s basilica of St. John Lateran, then presided at the Eucharistic procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major.

In his homily the Pope recalled how today “the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession along the streets of towns and villages to show that the risen Christ walks among us and guides us to the kingdom of heaven. What Jesus gave us in the Upper Room we openly display today, because the love of Christ is not reserved for the few but is intended for everyone”.

Referring to Eucharistic communion, the Holy Father said that “while bodily food is assimilated by and helps sustain our organism, the Eucharist is a different kind of bread.  We do not assimilate it; rather, it assimilates us to itself so that we are conformed to Jesus Christ, become limbs of His Body, a single thing with Him. This is a decisive step: indeed, precisely because it is Christ Who transforms us to Himself in Eucharistic communion, so in this meeting our individuality is opened, freed from egocentrism and inserted into the Person of Jesus, Who in turn is immersed in the communion of the Trinity. “Thus the Eucharist, while uniting us to Christ, also opens us to others, makes us limbs of one another: no longer are we divided but a single being in Him”, the Pope added.

“Eucharistic communion unites me to my neighbour with whom perhaps I am not even on good terms, but it also unites me to my distant brothers and sisters all over the world”. “Those who recognise Jesus in the consecrated Host recognise Him in their suffering brothers and sisters, in the hungry and thirsty, in the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned; they are attentive to everyone and take concrete steps to help those in need.

From the gift of Christ’s love arises our special responsibility as Christians to build a united, just and fraternal society. Particularly in our own time in which globalisation makes us increasingly dependent upon one another, Christianity can and must ensure that unity is not built without God – in other words, without real Love – which would only open the way to confusion and selfishness”.

Benedict XVI continued: “The Gospel has always sought the unity of the human family, a unity not imposed from above or by ideological or economic interests, but based on a sense of responsibility towards each other, because we recognise one another as members of the same body, the Body of Christ, because we have learned and continue to learn from the Sacrament of the Altar that sharing and love is the way to true justice”.

“Without any illusions or belief in ideological utopias, we advance along the paths of the world, carrying the Body of the Lord with us like the Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Visitation”, said Pope Benedict concluding his homily.

 “With the humility of knowing that we are simple grains of wheat, we remain firm in the conviction that the love of God incarnated in Christ is stronger than evil, violence and death. We know that God is preparing new heaven and new earth for all men, where peace and justice reign; and in the faith we see the new world which is our true homeland”.

After Mass, the Pope presided at the Eucharistic procession along Rome’s Via Merulana to the basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the route, thousands of faithful prayed and sang accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. A covered vehicle transported the Sacrament in a monstrance, before which the Holy Father knelt in prayer. HML/ VIS 20110624 (630)

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Thanks for donations to CRS relief in Ja

Thanks for donations to CRS relief in Japan and Catholic Charities help to all impacted by severe weather in the US.

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