Infinite, immense, inexplicable, and abundant love
A reflection for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Year A
by Andrés Castillo
Self-Giving. Surrender. Love. More surrender. Much more.
“The Eucharist continually reminds Christians that they are pilgrims and strangers. That their life is an exodus. The Eucharist will cease as soon as the signs come to an end and Sacraments will be replaced by the vision of glory.”
(Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., 4th Lenten Sermon, 18 March 2005)
Corpus Christi teaches us the true meaning of self-giving: It is giving of yourself completely, without measuring consequences, without having ulterior motives. Above all, it means trusting in it as your only plan.
This is the story of the constancy of infinite love; God, in His immense love, becomes man, equal to you and equal to me. He becomes that man who dies on a cross for our sins. It is infinite love and resurrection wrapped up together in salvation, so that we can be together with Him.
But that’s not everything because, also, as inexplicable love, it continues to give itself to us over and over again. He gives himself to us every day at the table of the altar so that we can continue to witness the wonder of the abundant love and the beauty of the embrace made real.
When Scripture tells us that "... he will live forever" (John 6:51)
it brings us into the mystery of eternal life. It means understanding the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew where the Promise of Jesus is offered to us in its entirety: "Know that I am with you, always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Is it not at the table of the altar where that Promise is accomplished? Are not the Bread and Wine the same Jesus who makes himself present to us in order to accompany us in our days until the end of time?
The Preacher to the Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., gives us a beautiful phrase: “The Eucharist continually reminds Christians that they are pilgrims and strangers.”
Being on this journey as "outsiders" means understanding the purpose of eternal life, which prepares us to dwell in our true home, which is made present today through the table of the altar. By sharing the bread and the wine we are partakers, for a moment, of the true dwelling place with the Father.
Eucharist, which means thanksgiving, is the precise moment to give thanks to the Father for his love, for his self-gift, for the embrace that makes us feel like his children, but above all, for that fulfilled promise that makes us members of a Church that moves forward. And without forgetting the primordial sense, it is to thank him because the Eucharist is a force that impels us to go out, to proclaim, that makes us feel that we are missionaries and disciples of Jesus; that being wherever we belong, we can tell everyone that Jesus has a table prepared at the altar today, waiting for each of his children to come and experience the mystery of eternal life; to have a moment of rest and of being sent, of preparation and of offering, of correction and of love.
I pray that on this feast of Corpus Christi we may be able to receive Jesus as a permanent offering, as the reality of the Promise fulfilled. No matter if He touches you physically or spiritually, may this confession of love touch your life, embrace you, and give you all the love of Jesus because "... there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13).
"Take and eat; this is my body given up for you."
Take and eat, this is my body, that, having been given up as a sacrifice for sins, is offered today at the table, as eternal food and permanent embrace, to fulfill in us his Promise, so that we can give thanks for his self-giving, surrender, love, and promise!
“Not even the torrents of the great waters will be able to erase this love
For its flames are burning fire, more than death, this love is so strong.
Of an overwhelming embrace, of torturous absence, of night and light, this love is made!
Of incomparable pain, of priceless comfort, of life and cross this love is made.”
[From “Abraço Eterno (Eternal Embrace)” by Suely Façanha of the Shalom Community of Brazil]
(translated from the original Spanish by Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann)
The readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Year A, are
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Andrés Castillo is a communicator, writer, and missionary. After studying publicity and advertising, he dedicated himself to film production and working in the media. He is co-founder of the global network of lay Missionaries Renova+. He is the author of several books about leadership and inspiration, and has proclaimed the Word of God throughout his native Argentina as well as in more than 50 cities and 17 countries around the world. He lives in Buenos Aires with his wife Ludmila and their children, Simón, Benjamín, and Gina. Learn more at www.renovamas.org.