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Corpus Christi

Frank had been a Catholic all his life. He went to Mass on Sundays, but not much else beyond that. His faith experience never became part of how he lived his life. They were like two separate things. Once Mass was over, he felt that he had fulfilled the “obligation” which his parents had instilled in him that he must fulfill, and then he got down to the “business” of living the reality of life for the week.

But all this started to change as Frank got older and as he started to develop some physical problems. He began to see that he couldn’t do all the things he used to do. And now there were the pills, and the doctor check-ups, and the blood tests. He even had a close call with a serious skin cancer which actually made him start thinking of the possibility of death!

But what really got his attention was the day his wife came to him and said that she wanted out of the marriage; that she had fallen in love with someone else. Now Frank knew for sure that he needed help. This wasn’t something that eh could handle on his own. That first Sunday after the bomb was dropped he went to Mass. But now, when he received Holy Communion, he didn’t just go back to his seat and start looking at his watch and thinking about what he was going to do with the rest of his day and week. He actually knelt down and prayed. It wasn’t an elaborate prayer. It was simply this: “Lord, please help me. I don’t know what to do. Please show me a way out of this!”

More than 2000 years ago, Christ was crucified—murdered actually—then buried in a tomb. But three days later some of his followers said that they had seen him, that they had talked with him, and shared a meal with him. They were so convinced that He was alive that they endured terrible deaths—martyrdom—rather than deny that they had seen him.

Before their deaths, they passed on something that Jesus was adamant for them to share with others. It was this: That as the priest said Jesus’ words over ordinary bread and wine, Jesus would become present in those elements. They would become his body’s and blood. And people were to receive these special gifts, this Sacrament. This was passed on to the next generation of Christians who then wrote about their belief and what Christ wanted us to do in order to be saved. Other Christians do not believe what we believe about the Eucharist. But we Catholics have from our very beginnings always known that Christ wanted to save us in this way.

So, when you receive the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in this Sacrament: the most holy body and blood of Christ, remember that the Lord wishes to become one with us, to enter our messy lives and make straight our crooked paths. But sadly, “we are elsewhere, busy about something that means nothing to Him.”

When you receive Him, know that this is the most powerful moment of prayer. Speak with Christ from your heart. He gave himself to you because he sees you as his friend, as the one he went to the cross for. Realize what a great Sacrament has been given to you!

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