Today, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of ChristCorpus Christi, is being celebrated. In the second Reading of today’s liturgy, Saint Paul reawakens our faith in this mystery of communion (cf. 1 Cor 10:16-17). He highlights two effects of the shared chalice and the broken bread: the mystical effect and the communal effect.

First, the Apostle states: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (v. 16). These words express the mystical effect, or we might say the spiritual effect of the Eucharist: it relates to the union with Christ, who in the bread and the wine offers himself for the salvation of all. Jesus is present in the sacrament of the Eucharist to be our nourishment, to be assimilated and to become in us that renewing force that gives once again the energy and gives once more the desire to set out again after every pause or after every fall. But this requires our consent, our willingness to let ourselves, our way of thinking and acting, be transformed. Otherwise the Eucharistic celebrations in which we participate are reduced to empty and formal rituals. Often some go to Mass because they have to go, as if it were a social event, respectful but social. However, the mystery is something else. It is Jesus who is present and comes to nourish us.

The second effect is the communal one, and is expressed by Saint Paul in these words: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body” (v. 17). It is the mutual communion of those who participate in the Eucharist, to the point of becoming one body among them, in the same way that the bread that is broken and distributed is one. We are a community nourished by the body and blood of Christ. Communion with the body of Christ is an effective sign of unity, of communion, of sharing. One cannot participate in the Eucharist without committing oneself to mutual fraternity, which is sincere. But the Lord knows well that our human strength alone is not enough for this. On the contrary, He knows that among His disciples there will always be the temptation of rivalry, envy, prejudice, division… We are all aware of these things. For this reason too He left us the Sacrament of His real, tangible and permanent Presence, so that, in remaining united to him, we may always receive the gift of fraternal love. “Abide in my love” (Jn 15:9), Jesus said; and this is possible thanks to the Eucharist. To abide in friendship, in love. This twofold fruit of the Eucharist: first, union with Christ and second, communion between those who are nourished by him, generates and continually renews the Christian community. It is the Church that makes the Eucharist, but it is more fundamental that the Eucharist makes the Church, and allows her to be her mission, even before she accomplishes it. This is the mystery of communion, of the Eucharist: receiving Jesus so He may transform us from within, and receiving Jesus so that He may create unity in us and not division. May the Blessed Virgin help us to always welcome with wonder and gratitude the great gift that Jesus gave us by leaving us the Sacrament of His Body and His Blood.   Pope Francis