“What has passed our lips as food O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, that what has been given to us in time may be our healing for eternity.” These simple but beautiful words are said quietly by the priest or deacon as they purify the sacred vessels after we receive Holy Communion at Mass. Today we celebrate a great solemnity; the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi. Perhaps it’s time for us to remember what we receive at Communion and how very special it is.
We, as Catholics, believe the host we receive at Communion is the actual Body of Jesus. Though it looks like a simple wheat host, it has been transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit into the Body of Jesus during the Eucharistic prayer. This is a great miracle! We are invited to be present and witness a miracle take place at every Mass. Then those who are properly disposed are called to come forward and receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
When we receive this call from the Lord to come forth and partake of His Precious Body we, though unworthy, are given this great gift of grace, Divine Life comes to dwell within us. We receive the “food of angels” as we heard it described in the sequence today. This food for our souls has passed our lips, as the prayer states. We are called forth to receive this blessing, but we should only partake of it if we have fasted from food and drink for one hour and are without serious sin on our soul; “may we possess in purity of heart.” If you have committed a mortal, serious sin you must be cleansed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to receiving Holy Communion. To receive the Lord while in a state of serious sin is also a serious sin. So prepare yourself in advance of attendance at Mass.
And when we do partake of the Eucharist we are preparing ourselves for eternal life with God. This gift of Divine Life, dwelling within us helps us to live lives in union with God and our brothers and sisters. This is a good description of living holy lives. This is our “healing for eternity”. We receive this gift in time, in the current moment, so we can be prepared for eternity. This is the goal of all Christians, to spend eternity in Heaven with God. Let’s not forget our goal!
On this solemnity take a moment to think about this gift, and when you come forward to receive God’s gracious gift of the Eucharist remember this prayer; “What has passed our lips as food O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, that what has been given to us in time may be our healing for eternity.” And may God bless you.