THE FEAST OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (CORPUS CHRISTI)
This Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ was introduced in the fourteenth century. It was meant to highlight the central role of the Eucharist in our Christian lives. We need food for our spiritual journey, just as we need food and drink for our human bodies. All three readings today tell this story.
In the Book of Genesis, Melchizadek, the pagan priest-king; bought bread and wine to Abraham. For us, this bread and wine prefigure the Eucharist.
St Paul in his message to the Corinthians (the first text written telling of Jesus at the Last Supper) tells us that when we celebrate the Eucharist, we do not merely make Christ present, but we re-enact the death by which he saved us.
In St Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus feeding the multitude. It was an extraordinary meal for those who followed him into the desert. In our Mass, as we celebrate the Eucharist, the church continues the mission of Jesus – feeding, healing, teaching and nourishing us, his people.
Note in the Gospel, Jesus talks to the people and cured those who were in the need of healing. This same Jesus does the same today in the Eucharist. In the late afternoon, the disciples said to Jesus: “Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; we are in a lonely place here”. Jesus suggests that they ‘give the m something to eat themselves. But the disciples say: No way! We couldn’t possibly think of feeding or giving shelter to all these (3,000 men – not to mention women and children).
Then Jesus takes over and gives clear instructions. He took the five loaves and two fish which were offered to him. He blessed, broke and gave the bread and fish for distribution – “They all ate as much as they wanted” AND “there were 12 baskets of food left over!” When we bring our little offering, the Lord can work miracles.
The Disciples saw a very simple solution – ‘Send the people away!’ When have we heard that before? “We are going to close down this church” – the people can go to a neighbouring parish! It there any other possible solution?
Or again: “We can’t cope with all these people (migrants) … we’ll send them away to somewhere else for them to be sorted out and looked after, perhaps Rwanda! Not in my ‘back garden’, thank you.
We could have a great discussion on these words of the disciples to Jesus – ‘Send the people away!’ This is the beauty and the challenge of the Gospel of Jesus. There are so many people whom are send on their way!
Have a great weekend and week ahead,