Catholics should be conscious of how they treat others because disrespect can be an affront to the Body of Christ.
“If every one of us is a part of that Body, then disrespect to any member in the Body of Christ is a disrespect to Jesus Christ Himself,” Archbishop Charles Jason Gordon said at the Corpus Christi Mass Thursday, June 8 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain.
Corpus Christi commemorates the institution of the Eucharist. He stated the level of disrespect shown in the society was being shown to God and to understand oneself as the Body of Christ means respecting each other.
Archbishop Gordon stressed that the same Jesus who walked the Earth 2000 years ago was present in every celebration of the Eucharist. “What the ancients saw with their eyes with manna from Heaven, we have to see through the eyes of faith, that the bread and wine on the altar is transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and that’s our faith.”
He said Corpus Christi is important because Jesus made it important in the Last Supper when He said He will abide in those who ate of His Body and drank of His Blood.
In the Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 10:16–17, St Paul amplifies the teaching on the Eucharist. “It is not just that the Bread is holy but we who are gathered here we are the Body of Christ…and no less holy than the bread on the altar, the Eucharistic bread,” Archbishop Gordon explained.
He reasoned that if people did not want to see disrespect for the Eucharist- Jesus, they should not disrespect each other. “If we understand Corpus Christi as the sacredness of what is on this altar, the sacredness of us gathered here as the Body of Christ, brothers and sisters, our whole world would be different,” he said.
As the Church walked together in synodality, they must learn to love, respect and listen to one another. True devotion to God in the Eucharist always leads to deeper respect for human life and deeper care for creation.
On the observance of Corpus Christi, he asked the congregation to think about how they treated and lived with one another. Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju and Fr Peter St Hillaire concelebrated the Mass. Deacon Derek Walcott proclaimed the gospel. After Mass, a procession took place through Port of Spain.
This year, more processions for Corpus Christi returned to parishes. During the closure of the Cathedral for renovations 2012 and years thereafter, congregants from various parishes gathered at the Queen’s Park Savannah for Mass and procession through the streets of Port of Spain ending at the Cathedral. —LPG