Corpus Christi

There is something about gift-giving that makes life special. When it’s wrapped up with care, with a personally written message on the card, and when you’re in the right frame of mind to receive the gift, a seemingly insignificant gift can have more meaning in it than any other thing. The significance of a well received gift comes from the relationship behind it. The thoughts and memories which are evoked by the thing makes the relationship with the person who has given the gift somehow present and alive to you. The gift expresses the love you have received from that person. That is an incredibly valuable and powerful thing. Am I being too sentimental? Perhaps, but there are some things which mean the world to us even when everything else is taken away. You may have heard the saying ‘it’s the thought that counts.’ Even the smallest thing can be most precious because it represents the people, the relationships we have and the love they have shown us.

On the feast of Corpus Christi we celebrate Jesus Christ’s gift of his body - he gives us his flesh and blood as food and drink. Food and drink are the most basic things and yet in this sacrifice they hold all the value and meaning of the world. Why is this gift so precious to us? It is precious not only because it truly is the body and blood of Jesus Christ although that in itself is extraordinary and worthy of worship. What is the meaning of this gift? It is love - deep, tender, meaningful love. “I am with you always.” At the last Supper, Jesus approaches his death knowing he will leave his disciples behind. What could he possibly give them? What did Jesus desire? He desired to remain with them to give them the fullness of his love. He desires to remain always with them even through the bitter trial of suffering and death. He does this by giving them his very self.

Through the Eucharist we become what we eat. It is Jesus Christ who refreshes our perspective each day to look for Him within ourselves and seek Him in others. It is only through Jesus’ story that we learn what love is and what we are called to be as Christians living and breathing as his body. In the Eucharist we realise the reason for which we are made - we are made to receive love, we are made to receive God.

The Corpus Christi is the most precious means through which God remains with us, and dwells completely within us. Jesus loves those who receive the gift of himself. Wherever you are, whatever place or situation in which you find yourself, Jesus desires to accompany you through it all. He desires to love and cherish you forever.

Jesus Christ, truly present on the altar, worthy of worship, you who give us your own body and blood, thank you for this precious gift. As we receive you each day, each week, may we continue to remember the meaning behind the gift of yourself, that intimate, profound and abiding love you have for us.

Fr William Loh, O.P. , Friar of the Dominican Province of the Assumption and chaplain to Monash University.