The Many Ways of Holding the Body of Christ

by | Jun 1, 2018 | Formation, Reflections | 4 comments

Holding the Body of Christ

I really miss being able to distribute communion at public Mass in the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. For a variety of reasons, I can no longer stand for long periods of time.  Also, I do not want to risk losing my balance going down the few steps with ciborium in my hand to give out communion. In years gone by I would focus on the privilege of being able to hold and give the body a Christ to each person. Then one day it hit me! I was giving the Body of Christ to the Body of Christ in each person who approached. I can’t tell you what a difference that made for me. I would try to look each person in the eye and see in that person the Body of Christ.

But now I am forced to sit while others distribute the Body of Christ.

Which is easier?

But now I ask another question. Borrowing a phrase from Jesus I ask “which is easier?”

  • A priest holding the Body of Christ in a finely shaped host?
  • A priest holding the Body of Christ in a Corpus Christi Procession?
  • Mary holding the broken body of her son as imagined by Michelangelo?
  • Anyone of us holding the broken body of Christ God entrusts to us in the person in need?

The Body of Christ entrusted to us

Former Superior General Robert Maloney reminds us how St. John Chrysostom focuses on the relationship between the Eucharist and the poor with challenging words:

Do you wish to honor Christ’s body? Then do not look down upon him when you notice him naked among the poor; nor should you honor him here, in the temple, with fancy offerings, if when you leave you abandon him to his coldness and nakedness. Because the same One who said, “This is my body,” and with his word made manifest everything that he said, also affirmed: “I was hungry, and you did not feed me,” and later, “whatever you failed to do for one of these little ones, you failed to do for me.”

Powerful words! Is this what Vincent has in his heart and mind when he said,

I should not judge poor peasants, men or women, by their surface appearance, nor by their apparent mental capacities. And this is hard to do, since very frequently they scarcely seem to have the semblance or the intelligence of reasonable beings, so gross and so offensive are they. But, turn the coin, and you will see by the light of faith that the Son of God, Whose will it was to be poor, is represented to us by just these people.

Is this not what we see Pope Francis doing in so many ways as he travels the world near and far?


  • Do we have the courage of Mary to hold the body of Christ presented to us?
  • Am I aware of holding the Body of Christ?
  • Which Body of Christ are you aware of holding?
  • Do we recognize the body of Christ in everyone we meet?

See related post “Corpus Christi – Got the picture…Get the Message”


  1. Sr. Marjory Ann Baez

    Thank you very much!

  2. Regina Bechtle, SC

    Thanks for your powerful, meaningful reflection.


    Fr. John—are you referring to yourself when you speak of the difficulties in continuing to distribute Holy Communion?