Pastor’s Corner for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year A, by Br. Sechaba Liphoko

We always hear about sacraments, and we often take part in them or see others take part in them, but the question is, do we know and understand what the sacraments are? Sacraments are “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.” In other words, a sacrament is a sacred and visible sign that is instituted by Jesus to give us the invisible grace, an undeserved gift from God. Today we celebrate Corpus Christi which refers to both the Body and Blood of Christ. Therefore, in order to better comprehend what we celebrate today we ought to refer back to the basics and ask ourselves, what we mean when we talk of the Body and Blood of Christ.

As Catholics we believe that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is real, true, and substantial, meaning that the Eucharist makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Saviour. It is called the Eucharist because it is an action of thanksgiving to God.


“The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the “Eucharist is the source and summit of Faith and that all sacraments points toward the Eucharist who is really the Body and Blood of Christ.


The Greek words Eucharistein and Eulogein, recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification. The church teaching on the sacrament of the Eucharist is anchored in Scripture.  The gospel accounts of the Last Supper are central to the church’s understanding of this sacrament. Other references from both the Old and New Testaments deepen that understanding. Instituted at a Passover meal on the eve of Jesus’ passion, the Eucharist connects the sacrifice of his body and blood “for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:28) with God’s deliverance of the Israelite slaves from death through the sign of the blood of sacrificial lambs (Ex 12:3-13). Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29), established the New Covenant at that first Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms that the sacrament “completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant” (Heb 9:11-15; No. 1330).


Just as God provided manna, meaning bread from heaven, for the Israelites in the desert (Ex 16:4-5, 13-15), so too does Jesus revealed himself as the true, life-giving bread from heaven that promises eternal life (Jn 6:35, 51). “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For in the Eucharist we receive Jesus’ flesh which is true food, and Jesus’ blood which is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:54-56).


The catechism states: “In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘The body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, is truly, really and substantially contained. Furthermore, the church teaches that “by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of” both the bread and the wine into the substance of the body and the blood of Christ. This change is called transubstantiation. Also known as Holy Communion, the Eucharist unites those who receive it with Christ himself — and with all those who share “one body and one Spirit … one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:4-5).


Br. Sechaba Liphoko