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Homily of the Papal Nuncio on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as I said at the beginning of Mass, for me as your Apostolic Nuncio, it gives me so much joy and happiness to be with you here in Christ the King Parish, in the Diocese of Cubao with your dear Bishop, the Most Reverend Honesto Ongtioco, and also with your parish priest Jose Glenn Orocio, parish priest here for about a year here in the parish of Christ the King.


And we're here to celebrate a number of anniversaries and celebrations. I mentioned at the beginning of Mass that his excellency has just celebrated yesterday, the 24th anniversary of his episcopal ordination. But we're here to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the altar, and I believe the 60th anniversary more or less of the parish, and also to close the Jubilee year - to close the Porta Sancta through which we have entered the church at the end of this Jubilee Year. And today is also the Feast of Corpus Christi - the feast in which the Church universal celebrates, rejoices in the gift of the Eucharist - the gift of the Bread of Life, as we heard in the introduction of Holy Mass today.


The Eucharist is everything for us. The Eucharist makes the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ. We become, you and I, the Body of Christ, by receiving the Body in the Eucharist. The Eucharist makes the Church because the Eucharist is Jesus - Jesus in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - this gift of His presence. And the Feast of Corpus Christi, I like to say, is part of what we could perhaps consider the “afterglow of Easter”- these feasts that we celebrate after Easter.


Easter is the glorious feast of His resurrection, His victory over death in which we will participate if we receive worthily the Eucharist. And then of course, we celebrate His Ascension into heaven. After 40 days, we celebrate then Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit. This afterglow, this after shining of the resurrection of Christ continues then also with the celebration of the Most Blessed Trinity on Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, now the gift of Jesus, His abiding, lasting presence with us.


Yes, He has resurrected from the dead. Yes, He has ascended into heaven. But yes, He is with us, with each and every one of us, filled with tender love for us in the Eucharist. And that's what we rejoice in today.


As I said a few seconds ago, at the end of Mass, we will close the Porta Sancta and finish your Jubilee Year. The door will be symbolically closed. But think about this for a moment. We close this symbolic door, we rejoice in all the graces that have been given to your parish during this period of Jubilee. All the people who pass through the door said special prayers, received graces, received the gift of their intentions heard by Jesus and Mary.


But the door will be closed at the end of Mass today, symbolically closed because it's the only door of your church. We will open it again so that we can come and go from the church, but a symbolic closure of the door. But listen to this carefully: the hymn that we celebrate with which we celebrate the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the famous "O Salutaris Hostia" which all of us or many of us probably know:


O salutaris Hostia,

Quae caeli pandis ostium:

Bella premunt hostilia,

Da robur, fer auxilium.


O Salutaris Hostia - O saving victim. Quae caeli pandis ostium - who opens wide the door, the Ostium of heaven, the Ostium Caeli. We are closing Porta Sancta, but there's another door and that door is Jesus. The word in Latin, there are words in Latin for door that are different one from another. There's the word porta, which means door but also the word ostium which means door and we use that word ostium when we sing in glorification and adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus is the saving victim who opens wide, who pandis ostium caeli. The door of heaven is the Eucharist. Because Jesus is in heaven, He has ascended into heaven. And when we receive the Eucharist, His presence is with us, His heavenly presence. We in a certain sense, when we receive the Holy Eucharist, we go through the ostium caeli - we go through the door of heaven, which is Jesus, and we receive Him, the Lord who is in heaven, drawing us preparing us for heavenly life, infusing us now with his supernatural grace, which is life, which is supernatural life.


Jesus is the door, as he says in the Gospel of St. John, in the chapter 10, verse nine, ego sum ostium, “I am the door”. It's usually translated in English as “I am the gate,” but it's the same word. “I am the door”, and the door is him in the Eucharist. And that door will not be closed today. That door is open for us in love. That door is open to us so that we can always approach Jesus in the Eucharist, Jesus, and receive him worthily.


And what does he give us in the Eucharist? He gives us healing. As we heard in the Gospel this morning, Jesus spoke to the crowds about the Kingdom of God, as I am doing to you today. The kingdom of God, heavenly life, and Jesus, the Gospel says, healed those who needed to be cured.


Who are those who are in need of cure, in need of healing? Each and every one of us because of our human condition. All of us are part of that crowd who needs to be healed, who needs to be cured, and we receive healing in the Eucharist. Because in the Eucharist, Jesus comes through that door and touches us and heals us.


It's interesting when you read the gospels at Mass and you listen to the Gospel, all those stories of healing: when Jesus healed the blind man, when Jesus healed someone who could not walk who was paralyzed, when Jesus healed the deaf person, and in most of those stories of healing, almost all of them, there's an element that's very important. Always, almost always says Jesus touched Him. Jesus put his fingers in his ears, even a very graphic form of touching; Jesus anointed someone with spittle, even. This contact with Jesus, this touch of Jesus, which heals, which heals. And how is that touch? How is that contact received by us, is received by us as you know in the Eucharist? Jesus is touching us in the Eucharist. Jesus is healing us in the Eucharist. Jesus is preparing us for heavenly life and giving us heavenly life now in the Eucharist.


We, as human beings, we can say have a three-fold composition. We are bodies: we are physical, we have minds, we have a psychology with a mental aspect, and we have a soul, a spiritual aspect. Body, mind and soul. And God's healing penetrates all of those aspects of our personality, especially, of course, the spiritual aspect. Our healing and the Eucharist begins with a healing of our soul. That spiritual healing. But it overflows into even psychological healing. Because receiving the Eucharist not only gives us grace but also gives us peace and joy when we receive Him worthily and attentively. When we understand what we're doing, when we're conscious of who is touching us, when we are conscious of who it is, who is the door to heaven - Jesus.


And even physical healing. You know, when someone is sick, of course, we anoint them, we give them the sacrament of sick, which is the anointing, but we also give them the Holy Eucharist. And when we come to the end of our life, we have that special reception of the Holy Eucharist called the viaticum. Viaticum, which is the last time we receive the Eucharist.

Viaticum comes from the Latin word via, meaning “road”, meaning “being on the way”. And we're on the way to heaven. We receive that Eucharist, that touch of Jesus, that presence of Jesus for the last time to sustain us as we make that passage, that transit from this world into the life of the world to come.


So all of these ideas are with us this morning. The idea of Jesus as the door, as the ostium that is never shut. This door which is always open to us, the door which is His Sacred Heart, the Door of Love, the Door of Compassion, the Door of Mercy, the Door at which we receive all of those things when we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, in His blessed Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And of course, dear brothers and sisters, we do all of these things always in the sight of Mary, his mother, who gave us Jesus, whose yes, made it possible for us to receive the Bread of Life. Only because a teenage girl in northern Israel said yes to God does all of this become possible.


So on this feast of Corpus Christi, Corpus Domini, let us rejoice in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Let us love Jesus in the Eucharist. Let us seek to receive him worthily and attentively, knowing what we are doing.


How important is every reception of the Eucharist, every touch of the Lord? Let's open our hearts to Him. Allow him to lead us to guide us to heal us in our bodies, minds, and souls.


May God bless you and have a blessed anniversary celebration.


Transcribed by Gel Katalbas


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