Today is perhaps my favorite solemnity in ordinary time ? the celebration of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or Corpus Christi. Herein we praise God for the great sacrifice of His Son, who has offered Himself as our sustenance in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass. It is the greatest mystery of our faith, that bread and wine becomes the Body & Blood of Christ. Every sacrament is oriented towards the union that is most fully consummated here on earth by our reception of Holy Communion.
... so what does that mean? A great starting place is today's Gospel, where Jesus explains that His flesh & blood is true food, true drink ? that whoever receives this food remains in Him and Him in them (Jn 6:55?56). Normal food may provide temporary satisfaction, but ultimately even the best meal can't prevent the inevitability of death.
What does the Eucharist offer that is different? A transformation ? not a physical or earthly change but a spiritual and heavenly one. Through Christ we are promised new life, and that with Him, our friend, in Heaven. Not only the recovery of ourselves from sin, but an offer of happiness with the Lord.
J.R.R. Tolkien, in his Lord of the Rings, demonstrates what he titles eucatastrophe ? the joyful conclusion of a long struggle. That struggle almost necessarily includes sacrifice yet ultimately culminates in the joy of victory. In his story, we see this particularly in the victory over Sauron & the saving of the Shire.
Our story has not yet finished and in fact there may be sacrifices we have yet to face. But Christ has made the one sacrifice that ensures our victory of sin & death. Today we celebrate the invitation to partake in that victory! May we be sure to respond readily and eagerly.