This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, which was formally known as the Feast of Corpus Christi.
We might think of this as the day when we joyfully assert that Jesus is really present under the forms of bread and wine, however, we cannot stop at that. We must go on to learn what Jesus had in mind at the Last Supper when he said, “This is my body,” and, “This is the cup of my blood.”
The accounts from the Last Supper tell us Jesus took up the bread and wine while saying the blessing, and to understand what he was getting at we need to have a better understanding of that blessing.
Every time the Jewish host offered the blessing at a formal meal, while he was meant to choose his own words, he still had to touch on three set points.
First, he had to call to mind the favors the diners had received from God.
Secondly, he had to beg God’s Spirit to come down on them to make them one, empowering them to speak back to God.
Thirdly, he had to ask the diners to join him in making themselves part of a pleasing gift to God in return for his favors.
There was a Greek name for each of those three parts. The Greek for the Pleasing Gift was Eu-charis.
Our Lord’s purpose in giving himself to his disciples to eat was to bind them to him, making themselves part of the Pleasing gift, the Eu-charis.
Through the first centuries that formal blessing developed into a Eucharistic Prayer. Even now, in whatever Eucharistic Prayer we follow at Mass any day, we can see that it contains those same three parts of calling to mind God's favors, calling down his Spirit, and making ourselves into a pleasing gif to God..
We need to believe in the Real Presence, but more important than that is our need at Mass to join Jesus heart and soul as part of a pleasing gift, as part of the Eucharist.
Each day we pass by banks with millions of dollars really present in their vaults, but that money is of no use to us if we can’t make it ours to work with. In the same way, the Real Presence in our tabernacles is of use to us only if we unite ourselves with it for making ourselves part of his pleasing gift to God.