By Roxane B. Salonen
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever…” .~John 6:51a
Corpus Christi Sunday happens about six months after Christmas, and I’ll bet that’s no coincidence.
At Christmas, we’re reminded of God’s yearning to be with us and how, in the fullness of time—when we were finally ready to receive him—he burst into our world, his own heart bursting with love through the womb of a young, holy woman named Mary.
The Incarnation was God saying, “I can’t stand it any longer. I want to be with you. I love you too much to let things go on as they have been. I want you to know me in a more intimate way. And I want to save you from your sins—even from death itself.”
So, he comes into the world, and we enter deeply into this mystery with joy and much merry-making. It is a big deal that God has humbled himself in this way. It changes everything.
When the Ordinary Returns
But we put away the decorations at some point and return to a more usual pace and ordinary time. Then, after a while, we reach Easter and are again reminded of God’s desire to be close to us, so much so that he was willing to be tortured to death to draw us closer into his heart.
That, too, is an exciting time of year in the Christian life, leading to more celebration. And then, we fall back into a routine for a while again.
Enter the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. I see this day as a tap on the shoulder of our souls by our Lord. “Hey, remember me? The one who broke through heaven to be with you, experienced a cruel death, rose, and ultimately ascended back to my Father? Even though I left, I never really left. As long as this earth exists, I will be showing up here, close to you. I’m here to stay.”
We are Never Alone
Through the Eucharistic presence, we reorient ourselves to Jesus, recalling the truth that we’re never alone; that even when we experience loss and abandonment, Jesus remains exceedingly close to us. Like a lover, he cannot stand to be far from our presence, so he is here, always seeking us out with a heart full of love.
In his homily on this day of solemnity in 2001, St. John Paul II reminded that, in the consecrated bread and wine, “the same Jesus of the Gospels remains with us whom the disciples met and followed, whom they saw crucified and risen, whose wounds Thomas touched, exclaiming prostrate in adoration: ‘My Lord and my God!’”
The Lord never really left. He is with us always until the end of time. Will we recognize him this Sunday in the breaking of the bread? Will we see his love flowing from the center of the Eucharistic host, with us as the object of his desire?
Dear Lord, thank you for always desiring to be with me. From your Eucharistic presence, I receive sweet assurance that I will never be alone—not even at the hour of my death. What a beautiful and consoling gift.
Call to Action
If you are a regular Eucharistic Adorer, consider spending some extra time before Jesus this week, perhaps writing a love letter to him, thanking him for his Eucharistic presence. If you are not, consider stopping by the nearest Adoration chapel to express your thanks to God, by your presence, for his abiding presence in your life.
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