Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. Two reasons why we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus:
- For us to give thanks to God for the permanent and continuing presence of Christ with us in the Eucharist.
- It is an opportunity for us to seek a better understanding of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus so that we more deeply appreciate and live the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.
Before His death and eventually His ascension to the Father, Jesus had a problem:
First, He needs to be with the Father and at the same time wanted to be with us. So he instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist so that he can be with us until the end of time (Mt. 28:20).
And second, that we may have life and have it to the full. He tells us in the gospel of John: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no eternal life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day (John 6:53-54). He instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist so that we may have life and have it to the full.
The Jews that Jesus was addressing in the gospel of John (Chapter 6) had gathered to ask Him for more bread. Instead, Jesus promised to give them spiritual bread and spiritual blood. But their materialistic mentality could not understand what this spiritual food Jesus was offering them. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (v. 52). But Jesus reaffirms saying, “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink (v 55). And they started to distance themselves from Jesus. They could not accept that hard teaching, because of their materialistic mentality.
That same problem is still with us today. Many still would not understand and believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is true food and true drink but at the same time the real flesh and blood of Jesus. This is not an invention of the Church. It was Jesus himself who made it so.
If we are truly convinced that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, then our reception of His body during communion must transform our lives into Christ. The statement that “we become what we eat should be more than true in the Eucharistic experience. The hands that you use to receive the body of Jesus, are they, not the same hands that hurt people, the hands that refuse to give? The tongue, is it not the tongue that destroys the good name of others?
Let us today approach the Eucharist with a livelier faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and experience God’s transforming love.
The gospel narrative sets off with the return of Jesus and the twelve after their mission. Jesus wants to spend some private moments with the disciples but this was interrupted by the crowd. How did Jesus respond to this interruption? He welcomes them, speaks to them about God’s kingdom, and heals them. In our life, are we ready to be interrupted in the middle of our relaxation to be at the service of neighbors?
The people have begun to wear away and the 12 came and said, “Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and countryside, to lodge and get provision.” The disciples were worried, they pitied the crowd but they did not have compassion. Jesus said to them: “Give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people. About five thousand of them. Notice how the disciples were asked to participate in the caring and feeding of the people. The disciples should provide food for the crowd. In today’s Gospel, we see that the disciples were so concerned about the hungry crowd that they asked Jesus to dismiss them so that they could go and buy for themselves something to eat. But Jesus tells them: “You give them something to eat. You take care of that yourselves.” The message of the Lord is clear: We must contribute something in order that the miracle may take place. In the gospel He tells us that the LITTLE WE ARE ABLE TO DO IS MULTIPLIED by God’s grace in such a way that it becomes more than sufficient for the need.
Jesus does not solve the problem of hunger by himself. He uses what people already possess: 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish! We see this more clearly in the gospel of John where Andrew says to the Lord: There is a boy here who has 5 barley loaves and 2 fish (John 6:9).
The story of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, like most stories in the gospels, speaks to us today because many of us can identify ourselves very readily with the disciples. Like the disciples, we find that our care and compassion are often very limited to prayer and good wishes. Like the disciples, we wish people well but have no intention of taking POSITIVE ACTION to help the situation. We always find some fine excuse to get rid of a brother or a sister in need. We say that it is not our task… it is the task of the government, the church or some other concerned institutions. Again, like the disciples, what prevents us from taking POSITIVE ACTION is that we feel that we have so little to give, and any contribution is not really going to make a difference at all.
ALL THAT JESUS NEEDS FROM US IS OUR GENEROSITY (to share the limited talents, time and resources that we have).
If we can just allow ourselves to be used by God, lots of beautiful things can happen in this world….and the most beautiful thing that could ever happen is allowing and making ourselves Eucharistic persons, transforming our lives into Christ.