10.06. 2007 Corpus Christi Sunday
Introduction: Jesus, who fed the crowds with bread, feeds believers now with living bread of His Body and saving cup of His Blood. So to be worthy to accept these divine Gifts let us recognize our sins and failures and ask Him for pardon and forgiveness
Penitential Rite: Lord Jesus, you feed us with finest wheat. Lord, have mercy.
Christ Jesus, you quench our thirst with finest wine. Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you satisfy our every hunger and thirst. Lord, have mercy.
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and brig us to everlasting life. Amen.
Intercessions: As people come to Jesus in hope of healing and being nourished so we ask God to heal our illnesses and to satisfy all our needs and hungers.
Loving Father, you give us our daily bread. Hear us and answer our prayers but especially teach us how to share our bread and all we have, and how to help the others who have less than we. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110, 18.104.22.168.; 1 Cor 11, 23-26; St. Luke 9. 11-17
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord was established in the thirteenth century to promote respect and reverence for the Eucharist. Today’s solemnity has retained this purpose. We need to stop today and consider our reception of Holy Communion. We need to ask God to rekindle in us and in all our people the awe, the respect, and the reverence that is fundamental to understanding the reality of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we say: “I believe in God and that is all that matters." But the problem with this argument is that there is no place for God’s greatest gift, the Eucharist, in our lives. The awe, the respect, the reverence for the Eucharist is –very often- missing from our lives.
But I do not have to look to others. There are times that the reverence for the Eucharist is not all it should be in my life, as perhaps also in yours. Too often I prepare for Mass focusing on the homily while not remembering that far more important than the homily is the reception of the Word Made Flesh in Communion. Perhaps, too often you join the line to receive Holy Communion without taking the time to consider what you are doing or Whom you are receiving. Too often people receive Communion and they don’t even know that instead of saying “Thank you” they have to say Amen. Too often people receive Communion and they then head for the doors to beat the parking lot traffic. It's too bad, but that is the reality we very often see here.
The lack of reverence for the Eucharist is rooted -most probably- in our lack of reverence for our daily bread. How many times we can see the bread, or the food in general thrown out into the garbage, despised, disrespected … How often we don’t respect what we have, but instead we starve for more money, for more luxurious things? Maybe the lack of reverence for the Eucharist is rooted also in our lack of reverence and respect for others. Maybe we don’t respect the Eucharist because we do not respect our brothers and sisters, our neighbors?
Or there is maybe another, more direct cause of the lack of reverence for the Eucharist? It is maybe the fact that actually we don’t believe that this white piece of bread is truly the Body of Christ. In such a situation it will be perhaps better to read the continuation of today’s second reading from the 1 letter to the Corinthians, where St. Paul writes very clearly: “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourself, and only then eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body and blood, eats and drinks judgment against himself.”
Some years ago Eucharist magazine carried an article by a 20-year-old cerebral palsy victim, Skeeter Rayburn. Skeeter could not speak or use his hands or legs. He communicated by means of an electric typewriter, which he operated by a stylus attached to his head. Pressing one letter at a time with the stylus was a slow, tedious process. In his article written in this way, Skeeter described how receiving Jesus in the Eucharist gave him the strength to carry his crosses.
“One of the crosses . . . is cerebral palsy’s jerkiness. . . . My muscles have spasms and my arms and legs jerk wildly until I think I will go mad. “At these moments, I remember Jesus’ torturous writhings on the cross. He had horrible muscle spasms which convulsed his entire body. . . . But he endured it silently. “Can I do less with my little contortions with Jesus living within me? “Another heavy load Jesus helps me carry is requiring someone to care for my every physical need. “Having watched my mother collapse from taking care of me, I know the feeling of being a burden and wanting to die. . . . However, I recall that God humbled himself by being born a babe, and if almighty God stood helplessness, I can stand it too. “Another cross is waiting for things. I have to wait to go to the bathroom; wait to have my nose cleaned out when I can hardly breathe; wait to be covered when I am cold. In these periods I recall how patiently Jesus suffered on the cross. “With Jesus’ endurance within me, can I do less for Him? I am able to go through all this only thanks to the Eucharist, which is my daily bread, thanks to the fact that Jesus is giving Himself as my most precious and most cherished food’.
John Paul II writes in his Encyclical letter “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”:
Allow me, dear brothers and sisters, to share with deep emotion, as a means of accompanying and strengthening your faith, my own testimony of faith in the Most Holy Eucharist. Ave verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine, vere passum, immolatum, in cruce pro homine! (Welcome most precious Body born of the Virgin Mary, truly mortified and offered on the cross for humans.) Here is the Church's treasure, the heart of the world, the pledge of the fulfillment for which each man and woman, even unconsciously, yearns. A great and transcendent mystery, indeed, and one that taxes our mind's ability to pass beyond appearances. Here our senses fail us: visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur, (vision, taste, touch are failing) in the words of the hymn Adoro Te Devote; yet faith alone, rooted in the word of Christ handed down to us by the Apostles, is sufficient for us. Allow me, like Peter at the end of the Eucharistic discourse in John's Gospel, to say once more to Christ, in the name of the whole Church and in the name of each of you: “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68).