Become What You Receive

Corpus Christi

Feast of Corpus Christi

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: June 11, 2023

During my recent trip to Italy with my sisters, a priest friend, and a nephew and his wife, there were many great moments and experiences.  But, I can honestly say that the highlight of the trip were the daily meals.    We ate well!  Those of you who have travelled to Italy probably understand why.  All of the other things we were doing, any challenges with trains we had, each evening when we were together to share a wonderful meal in an Italian restaurant, we were at peace and united.

Even in daily life, one good sign of a healthy family is that we share meals together regularly.  When we have celebrations for major events in life, weddings, funerals, Christmas, Easter, and so on, a meal or banquet is often included.

Jesus also left us a meal.  A Sacred Meal that we are to share regularly.  In this Eucharist, Jesus wants to be with us in an intimate and close way.  Jesus, the Bread of Life.

But, the Mass is not about being entertained, it is not about bringing me comfort and peace.  The Eucharist is meant to bring transformation, to bring real change.

First, the bread and wine are transformed.  During the consecration, when the priest extends his hands over the elements, we are calling down the Holy Spirit.  We call this the Epiclesis, when the Holy Spirit is called down to transform the bread and wine into the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ.  This bread will become the Real Presence of Jesus to feed us as the Bread of Life.

But, not only the bread and wine are to be transformed.  You and I, we the church are to be transformed.  We are to become the body of Christ.  St. Paul is clear that the bread that we share is the body of Christ.  He is also clear that we who share this one bread are called to be one body.  The church is called to become the body of Christ in our world today.

The Mass is not about making us feel good, it is meant to change us.  We are to become the body of Christ.  We know that we take in matters.  Right now due to the Quebec forest fires, we are faced with smoke in the air that is actually harmful to our health.  We know that what we eat matters.  Proper nutrition is essential to being healthy.  Well, in the Mass, we take in Jesus, the Bread of Life.  We are nourished by the Real Presence of Jesus.  We are to be transformed.

This is why the Word of God at Mass is so important.  As we listen to the Gospel, we should be watching Jesus.  Then we can become what we see.  Children are influenced by many factors.  But, they learn from their parents not so much by what parents say, but by how they act.  Children become what they see.  We are to read and listen to the Gospels to watch Jesus and to become what we see.

Meals are so important to a healthy human life, a healthy human family and a healthy human community.  The Sacred Meal of the Mass is so important to a healthy Christian life, a healthy church.  In the Mass, we receive what we are to become.  We receive Jesus, the Bread of Life and we are to be transformed into the body of Christ.

In the Mass, we listen to the Word so that we can watch and become what we see and be transformed by what we receive.

Today on this Feast of Corpus Christi, we are called to become what we receive.  The body of Christ.

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