Today we celebrate the risen lord’s bodily presence with us. In the first reading Melchizedek offers a similar thanksgiving offering of bread and wine. The epistle retells the last supper’s giving of the Eucharist, and tells us to celebrate it for all time. The gospel has Jesus feeding crowds in the wilderness; He still feeds us in the same way with his real presence. Lets confess ways we fail to appreciate this great gift of Christ..
Since Renaissance Platonism and the Reformation we’ve played up the soul and played down the body, hence stresses on the spiritual and condemnations of materialism, but that’s not Christian. Ours is an incarnational faith, the word became flesh. It must always be incarnated in worldly fleshly terms, that’s why the Catholic church thankfully kept all the sense aspects of the faith, candles, incense etc. I shiver when I enter some other churches, they are cerebral and bare. We are body and soul and both are equally sacred. That’s why we have the feast of Corpus Christi, the body of Christ. To remind us that His presence to us in communion as real as someone walking into our house. You know when some people enter a room, there’s a buzz. It was like that with Christ. His powerful gentle presence made all flock to him and hang on his words. We may say I wish I were there. Actually we are “there” at mass. He’s with us in a real way; in each mass the substance of bread and wine becomes his body; it looks like bread and wine but its Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity.
A person can be talking to you and miles away. Jesus’s presence in communion is not like that. Its an active intimate presence that makes faith hope and charity bloom, it makes us Christian to the core. It keeps us healthy within like good eating does our bodies. It sustains us for life’s trials, enables us to grow in God’s life, binds us to His body the church, gives us strength to witness to Christ, and enables us to defeat sin, suffering and death. We become what we eat, and what we eat is Christ.
But priceless blessings come to us also from visits to His sacramental presence in the church. He is present for us at all times in the tabernacle. Now if you knew Jesus was visiting your area in the flesh you’d rush to meet him. But he is in the church all the time. Benediction and exposition are great reminders of that fact as is prayer in his sacramental presence. Visiting him brings strength for life’s struggles and deepens our prayer life.
All in all then we cant overemphasize how precious a gift the Eucharist is. Our wise forefathers knew this as they braved death at mass rocks and mass houses. Jesus was there for them, they wanted to be there for him. Those who say I believe but don’t go to mass are deluded; they throw away the essence of the Faith in an amazing show religious ignorance; for the Eucharist is the absolutely essential food of Christians. Don’t take my word for this. Christ himself says: “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will not have life in you”. And people say reading from a book is enough. Regular communion is as vital to our faith as eating is to our bodies; without it we grow thin within, easy prey to evil. With it we flower into eternal life even here below. No wonder the church once said missing mass was a mortal sin. It alone can transform our lives into graceful living. So that when we see Christ face to face at last we won’t be strangers. Christ says…”He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day”. Imagine that we are already part of eternal life through regular communion, sure to be raised up when he comes. To know that is wisdom. For the world fades to ashes at last, but Christ in communion is life for us both here and forever and ever, amen.
So conscious that we Christians are in essence a Eucharistic Sunday people, lets profess our faith with new enthusiasm.
Prayers of the faithful
And as God’s people one in the lord, presence to here in body and soul, lets pray confidently for what we need..
For the leaders of the church throughout the world, especially our Holy father the Pope, that they may always enthusiastically encourage the people of the world to receive and be the living Body of Christ in grace, beauty and timeless truth..
For our civil leaders that they may facilitate every aspect of the practice of faith, for the deeper good of all their people.
For our young people that they may realize how vital Sunday mass and communion is, as their very life in God as his people…
For ourselves that we may never fail to come every Sunday to be nourished at the table of the lord, bring our children, and go out to spread his loving healing presence to the world..
For the sick, the old, the lonely and the housebound that through the monthly reception of the Eucharist on First Fridays they may participate in the Christ’s body and be comforted and raised up..
For the dead that having shared in the banquet of eternal life here in communion they may enjoy it forever in heaven..
We ask all these prayers through the same Christ our Lord here present with us as his holy Eucharistic people forever, amen.
This week’s Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart feasts remind us of Christ’s real presence. The first was requested by God when he appeared to St.Juliani. He said He wanted a feast to honor his Real Presence. For as the church went on, faith in that real presence would diminish to the point where it would need a feast to remind people. For the same reason he asked St.Margaret to institute the Sacred Heart feast in the octave of Corpus Christi. For the Blessed Sacrament is His beating heart of love present to us forever. Lets ask Mary to keep us in that love – Hail Mary