Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Year C. 23-06-2019 by Fr. Lubem Robert Waya, osj.
First Reading: Genesis 14:18-20
Psalm: Psalm 110:1-4
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: Luke 9:11-17
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the source and summit of our Christian faith. This feast invites us all to reflect on the sublime thanksgiving we offer to God our creator in the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist at Mass. When we come to this sacrifice of thanksgiving, we offer thanks to God for many reasons. We thank Him for all that we have received and continue to receive from Him, especially the gift of life. We thank God for His victory over evil. We thank Him for choosing us to belong to Him as He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist which is His body and blood, which some of our brothers and sisters will receive today. It means that the Eucharist is not a symbol but the true body and blood of Jesus Christ together with His soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine which at the liturgy is taken, blessed, broken and given for us all to have life in abundance.
In our first reading from the book of Genesis, we come upon a mysterious figure, Melchizedek, king of Salem and a priest, who appears suddenly from nowhere to bless Abraham and offer to God bread and wine. He is a prefiguration of Christ’s offering of His body and blood on the Cross, and of the priests of the New Covenant who offer Christ’s body and blood in the forms of bread and wine on the altar as we do even today. But in reality, it is Christ Himself who does this by performing four actions which are being repeated at every mass: He takes…He blesses…He breaks, and He gives.
First of all we see the priest Melchizedek take the bread and wine and brought before the Lord, pronouncing the words of blessing over it. And in the gospel reading, we see the Lord being offered five loaves and two fish. This appears rather too insignificant in the face of the greater need since the crowd was numbered five thousand men, excluding women and children who needed to be fed. However, Jesus did not turn His back on the five loaves and two fish but multiplied it and it became sufficient for all. The Lord does not laugh at our offer to care for others no matter how insignificant it may appear to us. He takes the little that is offered to Him because He sees our determination to do what is in our capacity to help others, and He uses these to provide for more than we could ever imagine in miraculous ways. This is what He does when He sees our sincerity of heart. What efforts have you been making to better the lot of others? May be the poor, the ignorant and confused, may be the young people who are victims of substance of abuse, may be in your family as a parent, a teacher in the school, at the market as a business man or woman, as a politician in government or as a responsible citizen? You may begin to wonder if your efforts have any effect at all, considering the enormity of the forces of opposition. You may seem not to be getting anywhere but when your efforts are offered to God, He accepts them and transforms them for use in marvelous ways. So do not give up but turn to God with your efforts and see that the Lord will multiply them and do even more than you could achieve on your own. This is what He does at every mass when gifts of bread and wine are offered to Him. As insignificant as they seem, He accepts them and transforms them to become His true body and blood after the prayer of consecration. He is always ready to do same in our lives as well.
And this depends on our generosity of heart too. The bread and fish in the gospel stand for everything that we have in our communities; our life, possessions, money, food, but also our endowments such as intelligence and strengths that He has granted us. We must be ready to bring all that the Lord has given us to be put into use for the common benefit of all. When all these are put at the service of others, we will certainly see the miracle that the Lord will work, multiplying those little efforts of ours so that there will be plenty for all. This is what it means to be Eucharistic persons, when we truly become what we eat. But we must also bring before the Lord our troubles as well and He will lessen them by making our yokes easy and our burdens light.
As we come up to communion united together in the Lord as one people, each one is transformed and receives a full share of God’s presence who also invites us to break ourselves for the good of others around us. How willing are we to break ourselves for the good of our brothers and sisters? Christ Himself broke and shed His body and blood on the Cross of Calvary to give us life in abundance, and that is why the Eucharist is broken and shared among those who come up to receive Him. His table is a table of unity bringing us all from different races and backgrounds to become one in Him. So we cannot be celebrating the Eucharist and at the same time be the cause of division and discord. As the Lord breaks and shares Himself in the Eucharist to us, let us pray that He will give us the grace and courage to break ourselves for the good of one another in love and unity. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.