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Fr Cullinan is the chaplain at Limerick Institute of Technology and is also the Limerick diocesan co-ordinator for the International Eucharistic Congress 2012. Fr Cullinan takes us through the meaning of the feast and highlights the need to be aware of the feast focus's in a special way is on what is before us, the Body and Blood of Christ. He reminds us of the importance of public witness through the procession. He also tells us of the Eucharistic miracle of Orvieto and the institution of the feast.
We draw to the end of an intensive period of liturgical celebration with the feast of Corpus Christi which we celebrate today. The Feast owes its existence to Blessed Juliana of Liege, who began devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in around 1230. Largely through her insistence, in 1264 Pope Urban IV commanded its observance by the universal church.
The Feast sums up three important things about our Faith. First is that God became physically present in the person of Christ, true God and true Man - the Incarnation. Secondly, God continues to be present in His people as they form the Mystical Body of Christ in his church - the community of people who gather every Sunday around the alter of the Lord. Thirdly, the presence of God under the form of bread and wine is made available to us on the altar at Mass and preserved there for our nourishment and worship.
Michael de Vertueil reminds us that we may find the metaphor of eating his flesh and drinking his blood as being very strange, but we should try to enter into it so that it becomes part of our prayer. Remember that in Bible meditation it is not sufficient to get the message of a passage; you must get into the words themselves and grow to love them so that you feel moved to repeat them many times. The metaphor has its origins in "flesh and blood", a biblical expression that means the reality of a human being with special stress on his or her weakness or limitations. For example, when in Matthew 16 Peter made his act of faith, it did not come from "flesh and blood," but as a gift from God. So too St Paul warned the Ephesians that their struggle was not merely against "flesh and blood", but against heavenly forces.
Jesus is still with us completely, his love for us is still there all encompassing to embrace us. Christ embraced the world by opening his arms on the cross.
Paul reminds us that to receive communion we have to be in communion with our community and our God. To be christian is to be in communion in community otherwise we are cut off from a true understanding being part of the Body of Christ.
The gospel reminds us today that there is also real nourishment available to us to give us real food in our lives. But it is also not enough to say that the communion is there if you want to come back on our terms. Community means we must be willing to be transformed which means we have to reach out to those who have been excluded from communion and seek to invite them back to full participation in the Body of Christ.
Other reflections on today from: