17 and 18 June 2017 Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ Corpus Cristi A Homily
Second Corinthians 10:16-17
My sisters and brothers in Christ.
The Readings for this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ have to do with our hunger, need and deep longing for nourishment.
We know that every living thing requires nutrition.
As human beings we, in general, reduce this complex process of nourishment to two words: “food” and “drink”.
The first reading today from Deuteronomy speaks to the need for food by relating a story about bread.
The story is aboutf Moses and the people who tested Moses and the LORD in the desert.
The people were afflicted with hunger and the LORD answered by giving “manna”. The word “manna” does not mean anything in particular. The word means “What is it?” or “What is this?”
In other words the people were so afflicted with hunger they might have eaten anything that appeared possibly be food.
The explanation was for these afflicted people that this “thing” that turned out to “nourish” the people and save them from starvation was “food” from heaven since it appeared each morning.
This “food” that “was unknown to our fathers” eventually became known as “bread come down from heaven”.
This gives us some insight into the history and emotional “charge” that the word “bread” has for the Chosen People.
“After all the stiff necked people”, asked Moses, “what was the point of freeing the people from Pharaoh’s oppression if they were to end up dying in the desert from starvation and thirst?”
The second Reading speaks about “the cup of blessing that we share is…. a participation in the blood of Christ.” The word “wine” is not mentioned in this explanation by Paul of Christ’s blood being present “in the cup of blessing”.
When we “bless” at Eucharist:
Bread becomes body.
Wine becomes blood.
The one bread broken for us and the one cup shared with us makes us,
“though many” “one body”.
We actually “become” what we eat and drink when we bless, transform, eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ.
Finally, today in the Gospel, Jesús explains what eating his body and drinking his blood does to us and for us.
What Jesús invites us to believe is that he is “living bread” given by the “living Father”. This “living bread” come down from heaven is the “living flesh” of Jesus. All of this “living” gives “life”.
The Son of man asks that his “living bread” be eaten.
The Son of man asks that his “living blood” be taken as drink.
This eating and drinking, this nourishment helps us to survive our earthly life.
This eating and drinking gives us the sustenance to have “eternal life”.
Jesús’ promise is one that we may find difficult to believe, Jesus tells his listeners, because our ancestors ate bread that came down from heaven but died.
This “bread” Jesús tells us is Jesús’ himself “come down from heaven.”
Jesús therefore concludes saying:
“…whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
Let us bless, consecrate, transform, be transformed, eat and drink.
Let us eat this bread.
Let us drink this wine.
Let us live forever.