Special names are often given to significant feasts within the Church’s liturgical year. Following Easter we have Divine Mercy Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday; last week we celebrated Trinity Sunday. Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. I believe we could also appropriately give today a new title: “Remembering Sunday.”
In today’s second reading from First Corinthians, Saint Paul recalls how Jesus established the Eucharist and twice repeats: “Do this in remembrance of me.” Paul continues, saying: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” Indeed, each celebration of the Eucharist is a beautiful act of remembering what Jesus has done for us, for our salvation.
Humanly speaking, remembering is very important; it is a special gift, involving our entire person (mind, heart, will, emotions). Yes, we can recall specific details of the past; however, if we recall them with our hearts and affections, those events and people will continue to shape and transform us, making us new. Remembering always links past events into our lives and they become present, operative realities. This is what is happening in the Eucharist!
When we hear about someone who has lost his memory, we are saddened. Amnesia or dementia are life situations that are difficult to bear. This fact points out how we must treasure our memory, both individually and as a community. Memory allows us to tell our story, to live our lives, both as individuals and as a Christian people. Today, on “Remembering Sunday,” our collective memory as a Christian people gets special emphasis through the celebration and reception of the Body and Blood of Christ.
As Christians, we continue to sacrament Christ’s presence to one another through our service, just as Christ feeds the people in today’s Gospel. In this way, the Christian community grows and is reconciled. As we recall and imitate what Jesus has done for us, we build up (re-member) his body, the Church. The gift of the Holy Spirit helps and guides us to remember—and to serve others.
The Eucharist is our daily bread, and Jesus reminds us to “Do this in remembrance of me.” He says it, not once, but twice. Assembled as a community, we remember, we celebrate, we believe. As we fulfill Jesus’ command, we grow in faith, filled with energy, dynamism and enthusiasm for mission, for authentic service. When we recognize Christ in the Eucharist, broken and given for us, we can more readily recognize Christ in the broken lives and bodies of sick, poor, lonely and needy people.
We Christians believe in the “true presence” of Christ in the Eucharist; likewise, we must become the “true presence” of Christ to the poor and suffering. Try to spend some personal time today “remembering.” Open your heart to God’s love and grace. Make today Remembering Sunday!
James H. Kroeger, M.M.
We remember your words, O Lord,
to remember your love for us
and your mercy toward us
and your life with us.
We remember your death, Lord Jesus,
and how you died to save us
from our sins and from ourselves.
We remember your rising from the dead
and sending us your Holy Spirit
so we never forget to remember you.
Most of all, when we eat the holy bread
and drink from the sacred chalice,
we remember you are always in our midst
to help us on our way through life
till at last we go home to you
to remain with you forever.
May our partaking of each Eucharist
help us always to remember
to seek and find you among your people
calling them together to pray
praise and remember you
who will never forget us.
By Fr. Joseph Veneroso. M.M.