The famous theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar (the most important Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century) says it this way: "When receiving the Eucharist each person must remember that he is falling into the arms of God like someone dying of hunger in the wilderness of this life."
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Body and Blood of Christ! Corpus Christi Sunday! This feast is the heart of our church, and heart of the lives of each of us. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1322 says “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life." Most of the Sacraments take place in the Sacrament of Eucharist.
When Jesus did miracles, he didn’t lose anything, but at the Last Supper when he said “this is My Body” and “this is My Blood,” he had to lose everything. The wedding at Cana was the first miracle of the new covenant. The culmination the new covenant is on Calvary and offered his life. He had to leave everything to give us the “Bread of Life.”
Today the Gospel reading, the multiplication of loaves and fishes, a miracle foreshadows the institution of the Eucharist. In this scripture, the twelve asked Jesus to send these people away. Jesus told them to give something to give. In this miracle, Jesus, in an indirect way told the disciples, he needs their participation. Their reply was that we don’t have much. We just have five loaves and two fish. When they gave what they had, the miracle took place. Jesus took the bread, looked up to heaven and said the blessing and gave to the disciples to give to the crowd. All ate and were satisfied.
I would like to share a story from my hospital ministry period. One Corpus Christy Sunday I was celebrating Mass in the Hospital, a lady was sitting in a wheelchair in the center of the chapel. During consecration she started to cry. I made a conclusion in my mind that she might be in pain. After the Mass, I inquired of her, how she was doing. She told me that it was not tears of pain, but it was tears of joy. She was suffering for a long time; she had thoughts of committing suicide from time to time, but her husband and children gave her strength to live. She continued, she was thinking about the homily, visualizing Jesus broke and gave his life, and in reality, we are sent out to do the same. She said, her faith gave her strength to live. She realized that there is purpose for her life. God needs her for her husband and children. She said, that day she felt her life is so meaningful.
The Eucharist teaches us that 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. It is sometimes difficult recognize that we are dying of hunger. On one side we might have been blessed with more abundance, more opportunities than any generation in human history. At the same time we experience a very real hunger. We need something more than this world's bread. Jesus, the bread of life, is the only one who will satisfy our hunger. But he would like to see our participation.
Every Mass we gather together to celebrate Mass. We bring ourselves as we are to offer to God; with our joy and sorrows: our total life. We become one with Christ’s sacrifice. Then we are sent out to break and give our life to one another. It is not easy, it is painful. But Jesus’ Body and Blood give us strength. Let us adore Jesus in Eucharist, and give thanks for many blessings. Let us give witness in a special way in the Eucharistic procession.