Corpus Christi Homily.
Exodus 24:3-8/ Hebrew 9:11-15/ Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
It is the feast of the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is truly, really and substantially present. Talking about his real presence, Jesus said. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.(Jn.6:51).
The Eucharist is the new covenant which Jesus established, the covenant of His love that links God and man with one another. Through baptism we become partners of this covenant, and it is renewed every time we celebrate the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we experience God’s unfathomable love for us, he feeds us, heals us and strengthens us, and he fills us with his life.
Today we celebrate the Lord’s gift, the bread and wine, the Eucharist. The incident with Melchizedek can help us come to a deeper understanding of this mystery. Melchizedek offered a gift of gratitude to God. Jesus’ gift is called the Eucharist, a name that means thanksgiving. When we receive communion we join the Lord in giving thanks to God, the Most High, for his protection of his people.
Melchizedek’s gift was offered for those who were faithful to God. The Eucharist is the food that Jesus gives to his people, his faithful ones. In the days of Melchizedek most offerings would consist in oxen or rams or sheep. After the victim was slain and offered to God, the people would celebrate by eating the sacrificed meat. A great feast would therefore be part of the celebration. But Melchizedek offered bread and wine. Yet, Abraham saw in this sacrifice an eternal gift and valued it so much that he gave a tenth of his belongings to Melchizedek.
The gift of the Lord, the Body and Blood of Christ that we receive is the greatest gift possible. It is His sacrifice on the Cross made real in the Eucharist for us to eat and be nourished with.
The question: How can Jesus give his body and blood for us to eat and drink? Will remain to the end a matter of faith. It is therefore better to ask, why did he give them?
Jesus changed bread into his own body for us to eat. Why? I once saw a TV advertisement: wonder bread that builds strong bodies twelve ways. Jesus in the Eucharist shared with us the wonder bread of the alter so that we can be fully alive in the spirit. When we look at this bread of life, Jesus wanted us to know that he is with us to satisfy all our hungers. There is a hunger for ordinary bread: Unless this is satisfied, a person will always be in anguish.
Jesus changed wine into his own blood for us to drink. Why? When we drink this blood, he wanted us to know that our sins are forgiven by his blood.
Jesus is the bread of God.
Jesus said, very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave your bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (Jn.6:32-33).and Jesus affirmed that he is that bread come down from heaven. He is the bread of God, the divine bread. The Father gives Jesus as the bread in the Eucharist; he is the food for our souls.
Jesus is the living bread.
Jesus said I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Bread in itself is dead thing. It requires human faculties to digest and assimilate it; it nourishes and cherishes life only because of human faculties. But Christ is the living bread and he nourishes by his own power.
Jesus is the life giving bread.
Pope John Paul II was a great lover of the Eucharist. During one of his trips abroad, he said. Even if the hunger of every man and every woman were to be satisfied by the labor of his or her hands or by the generosity of others, yet the deepest hunger of man would still exist. the deepest hunger is for Eucharist & for God. Therefore come to Christ. He is the bread of life. Jesus is the bread of life, who gives not only spiritual but also eternal life. He once said, I am the living bread that came down from heaven whoever eats of this bread will live forever.(Jn.6:51).
In the Eucharistic banquet we have the foretaste of eternal life. We become sharers of Jesus’ resurrection.
In the Eucharist we experience the personal love of Jesus. He enters in a personal relationship with us. We become one with Jesus.
Experience is essential to human life. From experience we learn the most. And Jesus wants that we experience him personally and deeply. Hence he gives himself to us in the Eucharist form so that we can touch and taste and see how good the Lord is.
One who has experienced God’s love cannot remain idle. He has a mission to fulfill. First of all he has to renew and remodel his life according to the dictates of Jesus’ teaching. He has to be the bearer of the Good News and witness to Jesus word. Love one another as I have loved you. Love is the testament Jesus left as an everlasting legacy. In its practice lies the mark of true discipleship.
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord was established in the thirteenth century to promote respect and reverence for the Eucharist. The celebration has retained its purpose. We need to stop today and consider our reception of communion. We need to ask God to rekindle in us and in all our people the awe, the respect, and the reverence that is fundamental to understanding the reality of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Melchizedek, the King of Salem and priest of God the Most High offered bread and wine and blessed Abraham for his faithfulness. And Abraham gave him a tenth of his possessions. Abraham saw in Melchizedek the presence of God who had protected him in battle and rewarded his faith. Psalm 110 promised that a time would come when the people would be given a Messiah who would be a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ is this priest and king. His gift to his faithful ones, his gift of thanksgiving, his Eucharist, is to be celebrated and treasured by us, the descendants of Abraham, God’s faithful people.
May we come to this sacred table so that we may receive Jesus who is the living, life giving bread of God.