Friday, June 08, 2007

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist. It was introduced in the late 13th century to encourage the faithful to give special honor to the institution of the Holy Eucharist.

The official title of this Solemnity was changed in 1970 to the “Body and Blood of Christ” (Latin: Sollemnitas Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Christi)—from the original title of the “Body of Christ” (Corpus Christi). This feast is celebrated on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday.

This year, the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ gains a very special significance following the issuance, last February 22, 2007, of the Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father entitled Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity). The Pontiff talks about the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church.

The Eucharist, viewed as the “sacrament of charity,” is a gift that Christ makes of himself where he reveals the infinite love of God for every man and woman—the kind of love that led him to “lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13).

This is the invitation and challenge to every churchgoer: anybody who partakes of the Eucharistic celebration should also partake of the “sacrament of charity.” There is no point going to mass and remain selfish and unconcerned with his brothers and sisters—especially the plight of the poor in this country.

Incidentally, this year’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ falls on the celebration of the 19th anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The failure of the implementation of CARP after 19 years talks not only about the kind government we have—but also about the face of Christianity there is in this country.

Corpus Christi or the Eucharist, which is the sacrament of charity, should not remain as mere celebrations. Being a sacrament, it should be translated, manifested and lived in the lives of every Filipino.

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