Saint Louis University

Fr. Dan White, S.J.

 

 

May 29, 2016

Today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ. The origins of this celebration are in 13th century France. This was a time when the Eucharist was honored greatly but very few people actually received Holy Communion. The Body of Christ was to be adored but the vast majority of Catholics considered themselves unworthy to receive.

Liturgical practice has changed over the centuries. We now believe the reception of Christ’s Body and Blood is not a reward for good behavior, but rather the critical means to help us live our faith. Jesus reminds us, Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do (MT 9:12). If we limited reception of Communion to those who were worthy, none of us would stand in line.

All the sacraments were instituted by Christ to lead the Church to growth in holiness. They are all gifts freely given, not because of any merit of ours, but because the love of Jesus is overwhelmingly generous. The Eucharist is perhaps the most tangible and important symbol of the utter gratuity of God’s love for us.