DETAILED HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI YEAR C (3)

DETAILED HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI YEAR C

THEME: THE EUCHARIST: OUR COMMUNAL MEAL

BY: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JUNE 19 2022

 
R1 – Gen 14:18-20
R2 – 1Cor 11:23-26
GOSPEL – Luke 9:11-17

A story was told about a priest who served as a tour guide to a group of Japanese tourists at the St. Peter’s Basilica.







DETAILED HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI YEAR C

THEME: THE EUCHARIST: OUR COMMUNAL MEAL

BY: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JUNE 19 2022

 

R1 – Gen 14:18-20
R2 – 1Cor 11:23-26
GOSPEL – Luke 9:11-17

A story was told about a priest who served as a tour guide to a group of Japanese tourists at the St. Peter’s Basilica. These Japanese tourists absolutely knew nothing about the Eucharist and the Catholic Faith. With particular care, he explained the great and beautiful masterpieces of art, sculpture and architecture round the Vatican. He finally concluded at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel trying his best to explain quickly what it was. As the group dispersed, an elderly man, who had been particularly attentive stayed behind, and said, “Pardon me. Would you explain again this ‘Blessed Sacrament?’” The priest did, after which the man exclaimed, “Ah, if this is so, what is in this chapel is a greater work of art than anything else in this basilica.”’

Beloved in Christ, today we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. It is the Church’s special solemnity in honor of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ. Its major objective is intended to make us value and appreciate the worth of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. This is because, the Vatican II states that as a sacrifice “the Holy Eucharist is the center and culmination of Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11). Such allusion authenticates the Japanese tourist’s claim, “Ah, if this is so, what is in this chapel is a greater work of art than anything else in this basilica.”

This solemnity is a three in one celebration:

(i) The feast of the Eucharistic Sacrifice

(ii) The feast of the Sacrament of the Eucharist,

(iii) The feast of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

This doctrinal Solemnity has been established for three purposes:

(a) To give God collective thanks for Christ’s abiding presence with us in the Eucharist and to honor Him there

(b) To instruct the people in the Mystery, Faith, and devotion surrounding the Eucharist,

(c) To teach us to appreciate and make use of the great gift of the Holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and as a sacrifice.

Today’s Scripture readings contain three themes:

(i) *THE EUCHARIST AS BLESSING OR PRAISE OF GOD*
In the first reading, we see the action of Melchizedek, who blessed Abram, offered bread and wine to God and shared these with Abram. Abram affirms his Faith in the true God (“the Lord, God Most High, Creator of Heaven and earth”) to Whom he has sworn an oath after defeating some local “kings” who had kidnapped his brother Lot, and recovering from them the property they had previously captured from the King of Sodom (Gen 14:18-20). Moreover, the Greek derivative, ‘Eucharistia’ simply means “Thanksgiving.” That is why the Eucharistic celebration is the highest prayer we offer to God as Christians. This shows the indispensability of the Holy Mass in our Christian life.

(ii) *THE EUCHARIST AS MEMORIAL*
In the second reading, St Paul describes the Eucharist as a memorial of what Jesus did at the Last Supper (1 Cor 11:23-26). By this memorial, we fulfill the ad memoriam mandate (Hoc facite in meam commemorationem) given to us by our Saviour, Jesus Christ (Lk 22:19). It is better to do the will of God (Jn 4:34) than to do the will of man or obey the carnal doctrine of a self-acclaimed man of God who oppose the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist.

(iii) *THE EUCHARIST AS A COMMUNAL MEAL OR FOOD FOR THE MULTITUDES(* Lk 9:11b-17). In the Gospel reading, we see one of the prefigurations of the Eucharist as a communal meal or food for the multitude. The gospel records that they ate from the same source and were satisfied.
Ofcourse, the Eucharist teaches us the importance of community, the bond that results from this sacrifice. John Chrysostom says: “What is the Bread actually? The Body of Christ. What do communicants become? The Body of Christ. Just as the bread comes from many grains, which remain themselves and are not distinguished from one another because they are united, so we are united with Christ.” Fr. K. Anthony writes, “Just as numerous grains of wheat are pounded together to make the host, and many grapes are crushed together to make the wine, so we become unified in this sacrifice. Our Lord chose these elements in order to show us that we ought to seek union with one another, to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into Our Lord Jesus Christ and to work with Him in the process. Christ is the Head and we are the Body.”

*THE REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE BLESSED EUCHARIST*

The Catholic Church explains the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist by “transubstantiation,” which means that the substance of the consecrated bread and wine is changed to the substance of the risen Jesus’ glorified Body and Blood by the action of the Holy Spirit: _Site na ikukwasi ha Mmuo gi, ka ha were ghoro anyi ahu na obara nke Onyenweanyi Jesu Kristi._
(Eucharistic Prayer II); wherein, its accidents (like color, shape, taste etc.), remain the same.

Hence, in his “ipsissima verba” at the institution of the Eucharist, Jesus said to his disciples, gathered for the Seder: “Take, … eat … this is my Body” — not “represents,” or “memorializes,” but “IS”! A little later, He said: “Take this … drink from it, for This is … my Blood … which will be poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. ” — again, “IS.”

With the Transubstantiation, the Holy Communion we receive is in fact, a reception of the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, whole and entire, in His glorified state. We do not partake of a symbol. The Eucharist is not a metaphor; it is truly the Lord. Neither is it a “piece” of His flesh. It is Christ, whole and entire.

Consequently, we believe it, because, Jesus himself preached it, instituted it, lived it out and commissioned us to do it in memory of him.(Lk.22:19). Nevertheless, St Thomas Aquinas, in the Tantum Ergo Sacramentum…, gave us the paradigm to a firm belief in the Eucharist as featured in its lyrics: ” _Okwukwe na-enye ihe, nke nti na anya n’enweghi ike inye.”_ That is, faith perceives what mere sight cannot comprehend.
Here, we walk by faith not by sight.(2Cor.5:7). It is comprehensible not with the head, but with the heart.

_*LIFE MESSAGES*_

(1) *WE OUGHT TO LIVE OUT THE COMMUNAL AND SACRIFICIAL LOVE ASSOCIATED WITH THE EUCHARIST.*
The Eucharist is a communal meal. In it, both the living and the dead, together with all the heavenly inhabitants share communion and fellowship with the Blessed Trinity.
This is symbolized by our sharing in the same Bread and the same Cup.
This togetherness must radiate more among the living. Just as we eat from the same plate and table, so shall our unity of purpose and action should be strengthened. Invariably, that which unites us is our willingness to sacrifice our time, treasure and talents to God in our fellow members in Christ’s Mystical Body.
So, together we are one.

(2) *WE OUGHT TO BECOME MOBILE TABERNACLES*
The term ‘Tabernacle’ is a repository, where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the church. Tabernacle is from the Hebrew “mishkān,” meaning “residence” or “dwelling place”. When we receive Jesus in the blessed Eucharist, we become mobile tabernacles, Christ-bearers and -conveyers, because, when received in proper disposition, we are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (1Cor.6:19). Mary became the first New Testament mobile Tabernacle. Hence the Church calls her the Ark of the New Covenant. The moment she received Jesus at Annunciation, charged herself with the duty of conveying Christ to others. She went straight to Elizabeth and exposed them to the contagious nature of the blessedness of Christ bearers. Ordinary greeting: Auntie Eliza, good morning, exposed Elizabeth to the anointing of Christ bearers. She began to prophesy and even the baby in the womb, couldn’t contain the joy that he recognized the presence of a Mobile Tabernacle, leaping for joy in the womb. She brought joy and smiles to the family. She offered her TIME, TREASURE AND TALENT for complete 3 months, till her delivery.
We too, must make ourselves mobile Tabernacles, conveyers and Christ bearers in the church, at home and in the workplaces. This is summed up in putting smiles and brightening up the day for those we meet, through love, mercy, forgiveness and selflessness.

Finally, a story was narrated about St. Philip Neri who saw someone leaving the church right after Communion, and he sent Mass servers with candles and bells to accompany the man. The guy stormed back into the Church and confronted the priest. “What kind of joke is this?” he demanded. St. Philip Neri said, “It’s no joke. The rules of the liturgy say the Blessed Sacrament should be treated with reverence. You left the Church immediately with no prayer of thanksgiving. You were carrying the Blessed Sacrament within you. So I asked the boys to accompany you to honor Him.”

Beloved, after Communion you and I are tabernacles; the physical presence of Jesus accompanies us. May we share Christ’s light and be to the world as Christ’s representatives.

*BENEDICTION:**
O Sacrament most holy! O Sacrament Divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine!
( _St. Thomas Aquinas’_ prayer of devotion in the presence of the Blessed Eucharist).

*HAPPY SUNDAY!*
_FR GERALD MUOKA_

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