This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ . This is usually known as “Corpus Christi”, but that Latin phrase means only “The Body of Christ “. By changing the words to the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Church is reminding us that , at the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, Jesus gave bread and wine to his disciples, and said “Take and eat” and “Take and drink”.
St Paul writes in our second reading, from his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 10, verses 16-17 “the cup of blessing that we bless is it not a sharing (or participation) in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break , is it not a sharing (or participation) in the body of Christ?”
The bread and the cup are a sharing in the body and blood of Christ. Partaking in the one bread and cup we are one body. A bit further on in chapter 12 of the same letter, Paul emphasizes that we are one body, the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Many Catholics have a rather individualistic “me and Jesus” focus when receiving the Eucharist. Such an attitude is insufficient and should be expanded to “Jesus, me, and all other members of the Christian community”. Therein lies the challenge of Paul’s message..to understand that to receive Jesus in Communion is to commit ourselves to be attentive to one another and work together as one body.
In Chapter 11 Paul warns the Corinthians that, if they fail to discern the presence of Christ in the rest of the believers and treat them with the same respect due to Jesus himself, they are “eating and drinking a jugement on themselves ” (1 Corinthians 11:35). The person who receives Jesus in communion receives more than a spiritual oneness with Jesus but a responsibility to treat others as Jesus and support them as the Body of Christ at all times.