HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI YEAR C (1)

HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI YEAR C

THEME: HUNGER FOR BREAD

BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JUNE 19 2022

St. Maximilian Kolbe says, “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Co







HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI YEAR C

THEME: HUNGER FOR BREAD

BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JUNE 19 2022

 

St. Maximilian Kolbe says, “If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.” A special gift that Jesus gave to humankind is Holy Communion. Annually, the Church celebrates Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), the Bread of life. Several passages in the scriptures direct or indirectly refer to the Bread. For example, Genesis, the first book of the Bible mentions bread and wine in the sacrifice offered by Abraham to Melchizedek; the gospel of John speaks of bread, which satisfies hunger; and the Apostle Paul explains the significance of Holy Communion when he says, “As often as you eat the bread and drink the cup you proclaim his death until he comes again” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The mention of Bread in the book of Genesis is connected to the story of Abraham who had a battle that lasted for thirteen years against several kings who held his nephew Lot captive. In the fourteenth year, Abraham achieved victory over these kings and came with bread and wine to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God. The action of Abraham resembles the offering of bread and wine during the Mass in memory of the sacrificial death of Christ. As Abraham offered thanksgiving to God, so did Jesus express appreciation to God when he lifted his eyes and voice in thanksgiving before the sharing of bread and fish. The actions of Abraham and Jesus are very significant as they give glory to God for their achievements. Likewise, the miracle of the multiplication of bread in the Gospel reminds us of some phrases and words used in Eucharistic prayer such as “gave thanks” “blessed”, and “broke” and gave (shared). The Eucharist is a perfect expression of thanksgiving to God for his goodness in our lives.

The 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John dwells primarily on what Jesus said and did with Bread. Before Jesus fed the multitude, he took bread and gave thanks to God. Jesus compassionately fed the hungry crowd by miraculously multiplying a few loaves of bread. In as much as the crowd came to him to receive spiritual food, He was aware that they also needed physical food to keep their bodies and souls together and so He provided bread and fish.

Jesus knows we are confronted by all kinds of hunger; We experience physical hunger that makes us want to eat and drink; we experience emotional hunger that makes us long for companionship and keeps us constantly in touch with each other; we experience intellectual hunger that pushes us to study, learn and acquire some new knowledge. We experience spiritual hunger, which makes us hungry and thirsty for God and long for the divine peace he offers us. Jesus was speaking about this spiritual hunger when he said: He said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).

The multiplication of the bread and fish for the hungry crowd reminds us there is a chronic physical and spiritual hunger in us and the people around us. The report from World Food Programme (WFP) shows there is a chronic food crisis, acute food shortage, and a spike in global hunger. Consequently, some people live below the poverty line. However, no one has provided us with statistics about the millions or billions of people who suffer from deep spiritual hunger in the world today. The moral crisis around us says there is a shocking massive population who live below standard in moral and spiritual life.

The body and blood of Jesus Christ (Holy Communion) in the form of bread and wine are available to satisfy spiritual hunger. Some people are spiritually hungry and are ignorant of the Holy Communion; some receive the Holy Communion but do not value it, making it appear as an empty and perfunctory ritual that has no connection to the soul. Painunkar, a Jesuit priest gives a vivid example of how Holy Communion is taken for granted by a recipient. He says:

“I saw read a cartoon with the following idea. The mother-in-law goes to the church in the morning. After attending the service and receiving the Holy Communion she comes back home, but on the way shouts at beggars, quarrels with neighbours, and reaching home, fights with her daughter-in-law. The point made is too easy to escape our attention. The Eucharist fails to make any change in the quality of her life and relationships. It has not touched her at all. If the Eucharist does not make any change in our lives, it has failed in its purpose.”

There is a link between the Eucharist and life. The Eucharist (Holy Communion) adds value, quality, and change to the life of recipients who understand and believe in its power. As children attending Catechism, we recited complex words, phrases, and sentences that define the Eucharist, without fully grasping what we were chanting. One of the examples of such difficult words is the explanation the small catechism book offers about the Holy Eucharist. It says the “Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ, together with his soul and divinity under the appearances of bread and wine.” Through the years we have been babbling these words without taking time to reflect on the real meaning of the body and blood of Christ, which is also called Panis Angelicus (Bread of Angels), and Food of Eternal Life. We should learn to prepare adequately to receive him worthily.

Prayer: We pray that as bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ, we too, may be transformed into what we eat by becoming more Christlike; As we gather at Mass to give thanks, bless, break and share bread, may we also imbibe the attitude of gratitude and the joy of sharing our time, talents, and resources with others. As we share in the body of Christ, may we accentuate our unity as a collective body with Christ as head; May Jesus satisfy our deep yearnings for the Word of God and the Bread of life; May we see Christ in his body which we receive and may Emmanuel (God with us) dwell among us always; May the Holy Communion be the remedy for distressed spirit, an elixir to revive a stone-cold heart, and rejuvenate all fainting faith.

In conclusion, let these questions guide our reflection on the body of Christ. How deep is our understanding of the transforming power of the Holy Communion? Do we always appreciate Jesus Christ for satisfying our spiritual hunger?
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Corpus Christi – Year C; Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17

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