CORPUS CHRISTI 2013
In many places throughout the world the Feast of Corpus Christi would have been celebrated last Thursday but we in Ireland and many other places celebrate this feast on the weekend after Trinity Sunday. Gathered at the Eucharist we bring our prayers to God. We each have our own needs. Friends are sick. Neighbours are losing their home. Kids need work. The person who has been in our lives for so long has died. We bring these prayers to church because they remind us of our need and they raise our hopes in the power of God. We have those hopes because God has rescued us and continues to rescue us time after time. Our relationship with God has produced fruitfulness, satisfied our longings, and brought us peace. Because of God’s faithfulness, we give thanks, offer sacrifice, and once again present our needs. In the story of the five loaves and the two fish, we learn that Jesus fed the hungry crowd by multiplying five barley loaves and two fish. He did this because he was concerned for the people who had stayed with him, listening to him and watching him cure the sick. In a sense, he was acknowledging their commitment to spending time with him.
Initially, Jesus tested his disciples by asking them where they might get something for the hungry crowd to eat. They had no practical answer to his question, because Jesus always practised what he preached. He never asked other people to do what he was unwilling to do himself. He satisfied the crowd’s physical hunger and, in doing so, he enhanced the authority of what he had already said to them and of what he had already done when he cured the sick.
The love and generosity of Jesus in tending to the needs of the hungry crowd offer us an insight into his own total self-giving for others at the Last Supper and in his suffering and death. Corpus Christi is an occasion for us to celebrate the sacrament of the Eucharist sacrament of Sacraments. It should be an occasion when we enter into the symbolism of this sacrament, letting it teach us deep lessons about life, our relationship with God and with one another. Since the very first days of the church before St Paul had set out on his journeys or any of the gospels were written — our brothers and sisters have been gathering every week for this sacred meal. But when we routinely do anything, we often lose sight of just how wonderful it is. We gather for Eucharist often. We still carry out one of the oldest and certainly the richest rituals in the Christian tradition. And whenever we eat and drink the body and blood of Christ, we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
It is a privilege to share this Eucharistic meal which is the bread of life. We have inherited it from a long tradition. And with it we have also inherited a responsibility to proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes by the way we live our lives. The Sacrament brings the gift of charity and solidarity, because the Sacrament of the Altar is inseparable from the new commandment of mutual love.
The Eucharist is the power that transforms us and strengthens us . `It spurs us on our journey through life and plants a seed of living hope in our daily commitment to the work before us’ in the family, at work and in society. From the beginning of the second century, St. Ignatius of Antioch defined Christians as those who `live according to Sunday,’ with faith in the Lord’s resurrection and his presence in the Eucharistic celebration. By receiving the Eucharist, we are nourished, and enabled to nourish others as Jesus does. As it unites us with the one who satisfies all our yearnings for love and fulfilment, so we must let that power flow through us to a world more desperately in need of God than ever before. Let us resolve to worship the Lord in the holy Eucharist and never to offend and dishonour him by our words or deeds.