A Homily for Corpus Christi

A Homily for the Feast of Corpus Christi
30 May 2013
Holy Apostles Anglican Church, Pewaukee, WI

Mr. Zachary Braddock, Seminarian

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The Eucharist is one of the most misunderstood of Christian practices. Aside from Mary, who is even more maligned than the Eucharist, the average person; will, when questioned, place the Holy Communion as the greatest difference between “Catholics” and “Protestants.” On the surface, they often seem right, because they see “Catholics” as “bread worshippers” who actually believe that the bread and wine become Jesus. On the other hand, they see “protestants” as those sensible Christians who see it as purely memorial. Somehow, we Anglicans get lumped in with either group, depending on the individual’s prejudices and Orthodoxy gets forgotten altogether.

But it truly is more complex than that. Paul tells the familiar story in his first Epistle to the Corinthians. On the night before he died, he took bread and he gave it to his disciples and said, “Take, Eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me.” Similarly, he gives them the cup of wine, claiming it as his blood.

Scripture and the Tradition of the Church show that the Eucharist is not merely an act of remembering Jesus. And yet, they do not affirm the Roman Catholic teaching of Transubstantiation. Do not confuse Transubstantion with the Doctrine of the Real Presence. Christ is truly present in the sacrament, truly present on the altar in this very church. But you cannot say that bread and wine cease to exist and that only the Body and Blood of Christ remain.

Just as Christ assumed human nature, so he assumes the physical nature of the eucharistic elements. Just as Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God, so the Host is fully bread and fully Jesus.

As God fed the people of Israel in the desert with Manna, so he now feeds us with the Bread of Heaven. And this is not merely bread, but himself. When we kneel at the altar and receive Jesus, hidden in bread and wine, we receive the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We participate, not in a new sacrifice, nor a repeating sacrifice, but in the “one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction.” We do not exist in a vacuum when we partake of the Eucharist, but are “made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.” There is one and only one Eucharist, whether here on our altar, or on the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, or the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.

So, my brothers and sisters, I invite you, when you come to Mass, come and adore Him. Come and behold the Lamb of God; behold him who taketh away the sins of the world. Happy are they, called to the supper of the lamb, who taste and see… that the Lord is good.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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