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The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year A – Homily

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year A
Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Psalm 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20 (12)
1 Corinthians 10:16-17
John 6:51-58
June 14, 2020

It has been a while since we have been able to gather together physically to celebrate Mass.  We have each had to deal with the Coronavirus according to the circumstances of our own lives. 

Many have been stuck home.  We haven’t enjoyed it.  That should be a reminder to always pray for those who are permanently homebound.

There are the health care workers who needed to keep going to work to help the sick.  We thank you.  We are also grateful for grocers and all in the food and essential items supply chain who kept working so we could have what we need.  Thank you to all of you.

We are thankful now that we are able to gather for Mass but even as we do, we are mindful of those with health issues who continue to stay home to avoid the risk of illness.  We pray for them.

We are not the first to face affliction.  We hear from Moses of the affliction the Israelites faced in the desert.  Their affliction lasted forty years.  We have been thirteen weeks without public Masses in our “desert” of isolation and social distancing. 

How have you fared?  God watched the Israelites to see if it was their intention “to keep his commandments.”  Have you kept the faith?

Here we are.  So, yes you have faith.  You have come hungry for what God has to offer.

Of course, God never stopped feeding us.  Yes, we couldn’t gather together in church for Mass.  For those with computers and smart devices, you could join us by livestreaming.  If you couldn’t join us that way, I hope you were able to watch Mass on TV.  It isn’t the same as coming in person but you could listen to the readings and participate as the sacrifice of the Eucharist was celebrated.  God still came to those who desired him in spiritual communion.

We participate in the Eucharist, we participate in the Blood of Christ, the Body of Christ by opening ourselves to God.  We participate by opening our ears and our hearts to God’s word.  We participate by listening to the prayers with our heart and soul.  We participate by offering sacrifices in our lives for the good of others. 

We do all this in livestreaming, TV, or radio Masses.  It wasn’t the same as coming in person but God fed us with spiritual communion for our efforts.  We thank God for the grace He has given us during this time.

Today we come together to celebrate the Eucharist as the source and summit of who we are. 

The second Sunday after Pentecost is always the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ in the United States. That’s today.

Today we celebrate the bread of life.

Today we hear Jesus say, “I am the living bread that came down from Heaven; whoever eats this bread with live forever.”  He speaks of living forever in Heaven. 

Has your time without the Eucharist deepened your appreciation of what we receive in the Eucharist, the Bread of Life?

Jesus told the crowds that they must eat his flesh to have life within them.  This confused them.  In fact, it might even seem repulsive.  Was He telling them to be cannibals?  Who would to do that?

Jesus tells us, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you do not have life within you.”  How do we do this?

We eat his flesh and drink his blood in the bread and wine we receive.  When we start Mass, it is ordinary bread and wine.  We offer the Eucharist.  It still looks like bread and wine but the substance within has changed. 

We call the change “transubstantiation.”  It’s a big word.  We don’t use this word for anything else.  Sometimes we think we should use everyday words so we know what they mean.  However, what happens in the transubstantiation has no other parallel.  There is nothing like it.  It should be a unique word. 

It is something very special.  It is the source and summit of who we are as Catholics.  The bread and wine have become the Body and Blood of Jesus. 

How do we know this?  Today we hear in the gospel that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood but how do we know this happens with the bread and wine?

The answer is simple.  We know it because Jesus said so at the Last Supper.  Holding the bread, He said this is my body.  Holding the cup of wine, He said this is my blood. 

We pray in the Eucharistic prayer that the Holy Spirit come upon the gifts of bread and wine so that they become the Body and Blood of Jesus.  We don’t know how except that it is by God’s power.  That’s enough.  It is a mystery of faith.

Yes, it is a mystery but our souls tell us it is true.  How much have you missed receiving the Eucharist?  If it was still just bread and wine, do you think you would have missed it?

We believe because God has given us faith.  We thank God for the faith He has given us.

We long for the Eucharist as “true food’ and “true drink.”  We long for life with God.  We thank God for all that we celebrate in the Eucharist.

3 Comments

  1. strawm queen says:

    Fr. Jeff,

    Rich and I were watching a video from YouTube about “The Shepherd of La Saletta”, the secret of the apparition of our Lady of La Salette (France 1846). It looked like a Catholic film but it didn’t sound Catholic. In fact I thought it was anti-Catholic disguised as being Catholic. They showed pictures of some of today’s clergy including Bishop Barron and Pope Francis. They made a couple of references that Pagan Rome will disappear. All we saw for credits was Archbishop Vigano and it was produced in Feb. 2020. Do you have any information or comment on this video that has been viewed by 94k?

    Thank you for teaching us. We do so want to be life long learners and re-learners (I don’t retain information like I used to).

    God Bless,
    Ginny

  2. Fr. Jeff says:

    Ginny,

    This is not something I am familiar with. I did a little searching on the Internet and found the apparition at La Saletta talked about on good Catholic websites. So, there is at least some credibility to the apparition.

    However, based on what you said, I am skeptical about the credibility of the specific video you watched. Unfortunately, the fact that it includes pictures of current theologians like Bishop Barron don’t mean it is good. (If Bishop Barron actually did it, it would be good).

    If you have the link to the video, please email it to me. If not, let this be a reminder to all that while there is a lot of good information on the Internet, there is bad information out there too.

    Peace,

    Fr. Jeff

  3. strawqueen says:

    Thank you Fr. Jeff,

    What we saw was on YouTube. I find it unsettling how often Catholic teaching is misunderstood and or misrepresented. Many times it is very subtle in books, movies, internet, my brother-in-law Baptist Evangelist, My Cursilo ‘sister’s’ Lutheran husband….. Thank you for being a wonderful trusted source.

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