One of the most famous theologian of the 20th century, Hans Urs von Balthasar 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 the 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.
First Reading Moses recalls the difficulties they encountered on their journey through the desert to the Promised Land. Moses reminds them that God did more than see to their physical needs. To live we need more than bread and water. We need to experience communion with God. We need to realize that what we hunger for most is ‘every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Deuteronomy 8:3).
In second readings St. Paul says, “The loaf of bread is one, we, though many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” Here we see a great expression of the need to belong-communion with Christ - bound to so close to each other. Jesus gives us his flesh and blood, he gives us his very life, sacrifices everything for us.
In the Gospel of John Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (John 6:55-56).
Even though the Sacrament of the Eucharist instituted by Jesus Christ, we can see through out the Bible connecting passage to the Eucharist and priesthood. In the book of Genesis 14:18-20, Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem blesses Abraham and offers bread and wine. He prefigures Jesus, the Eternal Priest and King, who is going to offer bread and wine, sacrificing on the Cross.
In the book of Exodus chapter 24:8, at Mount, God establishes a covenant with Israel through Moses. He took the blood and threw it upon the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Jesus uses similar words at the Last Supper, offering himself and establishing the New Covenant. Again we read in the Book of Exodus 25: 8, “They are to make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.” 25:30, “You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.” We see again in the first book of Kings Chapter 7:48 the Bread of presence and Tabernacle in the Temple. Today’s Gospel reading from John, Jesus says, “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." (John 6:51). Jesus is inviting us to do the same.
I would like to share a story from my hospital ministry period. One Corpus Christi Sunday I was celebrating Mass in Hospital, a lady was sitting in a wheelchair in the center of the chapel. During the consecration, she started to cry. I made a conclusion in my mind that she might be in pain. After the Mass, I inquired 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 the strength to live. She continued, she was thinking about your homily, visualizing Jesus broke and gave his life, and in reality, we are sending out to do the same. She said, her faith gave her the strength to live. She realizes that there is a purpose for her life. God needs her for her husband and children. She said, that day she felt her life is so meaningful.
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 lives 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.