Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ – Luke 9: 11-17
Today, we celebrate the solemn feast of Corpus Christi and it is a celebration of the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ. The purpose of this celebration is to teach us to appreciate the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, both as a sacrament and as a sacrifice.
These days, we hear so much about eating healthy and good food by counting calories, getting enough fruits and vegetables, and maintaining a balanced diet. In many ways, it is wonderful! The nutritionists and health experts advise us to eat well and be well! Recall that saying: “You are what you eat.” In other words, what we eat says something about ourselves! This is very true, not only of what we eat in our dining rooms and restaurants but what we consume in front of our altars. What we eat here looks and tastes like unleavened bread and table wine. However, it is really the Body and Blood of Christ. “We will become what we eat!” We become healthy and strong members of the Body of Christ and we enjoy living in holiness and communion with our God.
St. Mother Teresa said, “The Holy Eucharist is the spiritual food that sustains me – without the Eucharist, I could not get through one single day or hour in my life.” Visitors to her home for the dying in Calcutta were often surprised that their first stop was the Eucharistic chapel. Mother Teresa would tell the visitors, “Jesus is the Master of the house;” Jesus’ presence was the reason for her love for the poor and sick. This was one of her most important lessons – that we should see the mysterious connection between Christ’s presence under the appearance of bread and wine and Christ’s presence in the poor.
Pope Francis said in his homily during the mass at the celebration of Corpus Christi, “Jesus speaks in silence in the mystery of the Eucharist and each time reminds us that following Jesus means to come out of ourselves and not make our lives our possession, but a gift to Jesus and a gift to others.”
In the Gospel reading we just heard, the disciples asked Jesus to send people away to find food and the disciples wanted to “dismiss” the crowd; they do not want to take any responsibilities for others. But the reaction of Jesus was entirely different; Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Like the disciples, sometimes we, too, act like and try to “dismiss” others; we do not want to take any responsibilities and care for the needs of others and sometimes we think about only ourselves.
But Jesus, on the other hand, doesn’t want to discourage the disciples and said to them, “Bring what you have.” The disciples brought what they had: five loaves of bread and two fish. By trusting in The Heavenly Father, Jesus raised His eyes to heaven, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave the bread to the disciples to distribute as “a moment of deep communion.” The crowd was satisfied by the word of the Lord and nourished by the bread of His life and they were all satisfied.
Jesus is challenging each of us to share what we have with others. We all have something, it may be small or little but when we share with other people, it becomes larger and countless. The more we give, the more will come back. If we want happiness, we need to share happiness. If we need love, we need to share our love with others. Jesus invites us to the table to eat the bread of understanding, the bread of forgiveness, and the bread of unconditional love. We are challenged in the Eucharist to love without counting the costs. Let us allow God to live in us through the Bread of Life. Then we must be willing to become Eucharist for others — to make the love of Christ real for all.
Let us pray that we, too, can become Jesus’ bread of love and forgiveness to others. As we leave from this Church, please remember that a Christian, who receives Jesus’ body and blood, is made to be a living tabernacle of God’s presence!