MANILA, Philippines --- A True story is told about a lady named Brigitte Gerney. In 1985, while walking in a street of New York City, a construction crane fell, pinning her underneath. For six agonizing hours, paramedics frantically struggled to keep her alive until she could be removed from under the heavy crane.
During the ordeal Brigitte was given blood transfusions, fluids, and painkillers. But she asked for one specific thing and that was to receive Holy Communion. She was then taken to a hospital where doctors operated on her for another five hours and she eventually survived.
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The crane accident was only one of the most recent of a series of mishaps Brigitte had experienced. Her son, who was barely 2 years old, drowned accidentally. Her husband died of cancer. Her father was killed in an automobile accident. Brigitte had an operation to remove a cancer and she had suffered multiple injuries in a cable car crash in Switzerland in 1982.
One would say this woman was born unlucky. But because of her indomitable faith, especially in the Eucharist, she survived all those ordeals.
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This Sunday is the feast of "Corpus Christi," a Latin term which literally means the "Body of Christ." The feast commemorates our Lord giving His Body and Blood to nourish and strengthen us in our journey through life.
Like Brigitte in the above story, we sometimes encounter accidents, endure disappointments, or suffer tragedies. By ourselves, we could never survive. We need a higher power and spiritual energy.
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It is unfortunate, however, that many Catholics fail to appreciate the value of this special gift. Sunday after Sunday, some people come to Mass but, for no reason, they refrain from receiving Holy Communion. The words of Jesus are clear: "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day" (Jn 6:55).
Hence, based on Jesus' words this kind of "bionic" bread gives us not only strength but also eternal life.
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In the 8th century, a Basilian monk doubted the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. While celebrating Mass one morning, after the two-fold Consecration, the priest was astounded to see the host transformed into live flesh and the wine into live blood. The miracle convinced the scared monk dramatically on the veracity of Christ's Eucharistic Presence at Mass. This moved him to make penance.
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In 1970-71 and later in 1981, a scientific investigation was conducted by the illustrious scientist Prof. Odoardo Linoli of the University of Siena and the result yielded that the flesh was real flesh and the blood real blood.
Since 1713, the Flesh has been mounted in an artistic silver Ostensorium conjoined to a covered cup containing the Blood globules and displayed at the main altar. In October, 2003, during a pilgrimage, I visited the place, Lanciano, site of the Eucharistic Miracle.
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Do we really believe Christ's presence in the Eucharist? May the feast of Corpus Christi be an opportunity for us to renew our appreciation of the Eucharist and its immense value in our life.
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FAMILY TV MASS - is aired on IBC 13 at 7 a.m. every Sunday and on GMA Pinoy TV International. Sponsor: REX BOOKSTORE INC. Celebrant: Fr. Larry Faraon.
For Mass intentions, e.g. sick, dead, call Brian at Christ the King Seminary (cf. tel. directory) or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.