A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI – CYCLE “C” – MAY 29TH, 2016 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We know that for the people of the Old Testament, sacrificing to God was a part of life. It was a fairly common occurrence. Animal meat was sacrificed on make-shift altars, as a burnt offering for the forgiveness of sins, or in thanksgiving for prayers answered, or to obtain God’s favor and attention. But today, in our First Reading, we see a very different type of sacrifice being offered by the priest Melchizedek. Instead of lambs, or turtledoves, or bullocks, in Genesis Chapter 14 the King and Priest Melchizedek offers bread and wine in gratitude to God for success in battle and the safe return of Abram’s nephew, Lot. This passage reminds us of just how much the Hebrew Scriptures foreshadowed what Jesus would fulfil later on. So what does Jesus choose for His Sacrifice many years later at the Last Supper? Yep, it is bread and wine.
The story of Abram and Melchizedek shows bread being offered in thanksgiving to God for a miracle. So often in the Bible, bread is used as a miracle: when the Israelites were fed with manna in the desert, or when Elijah promised the starving widow and her son, “that the jug of oil would not go dry, or the flour jar go empty”. No one could do greater things with bread then Jesus Himself! The feeding of the thousands with the fishes and loaves from our Gospel today is further evidence of this.
Today on this Feast of Corpus Christi, we celebrate that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Today, Christ continues to feed multitudes with His own Body and Blood, every day! The Eucharist has been offered by the Church from its very beginning, and will be offered by her until the very end of time, because Jesus commanded us, to do this in remembrance of me! On this Feast day, we do not celebrate WHAT we receive in Holy Communion, but WHOM do we receive in Holy Communion.
This Sacrament is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ! It is time for every Catholic to “rekindle” our Eucharistic amazement, as St. John Paul wrote in 2003. And we are to live out our love and amazement of the Eucharist in our lives every day. I wonder, how are we doing at that?
Do we come to Mass and just sit and watch, and not participate? You know, we have become so good at watching. We come to Mass, and I think that for so many Catholics, they think it is like they are home watching TV! You know, I can see you! There’s no glass screen between us. I can see you reading that text on your phone. I can see you picking that scab on your arm! I can see you squeezing your child’s hand at the Our Father! What, you think I’m blind? More importantly, God can see you! How do you think God would rate your participation at Mass? Would you be excellent, good, fair, poor, or why did he or she come here today?
Do you come to Mass on time and stay until Mass is officially over? You know, sometimes the respect that we have for the Mass and the Eucharist is tied directly to our love and appreciation of the Eucharist. Do I dress appropriately for Mass? Do I keep the one-hour fast before Communion? And that includes gum, by the way. Do I get rid of my gum before I come into Mass? And I don’t mean by sticking it under the pew! Do I pay attention at Mass? DO I sing at Mass? Am I prepared for Mass when I come in?
You know, there are many who walk away from the Catholic Faith and they say, well, I just didn’t get anything out of Mass. What I’d like to know, is what were they putting into Mass? You can’t just sit and watch. If you’re not getting something out of Mass, you are most likely not doing it right. And God is calling you to greater involvement.
There’s a wonderful young lady, named Marcy who cleans our church for us here at St. Maria Goretti. She’s a sweetheart! Marcy is not Catholic, but she cares for our church building like it was her own. And Marcy tells me that the most surprising thing that she finds in church on Monday mornings, especially in the back pews, are fingernail clippings. I know, kinda gross, right? If you’re just coming here to church to trim your nails, you are probably not coming for the right reasons. And maybe we need to rethink that?
And isn’t it horrible, that she thinks that that is what Catholics do at Mass? What a terrible witness!
My brothers and sisters, let us fall in love with Jesus in the Eucharist and in the Mass. Here is where we meet Him every week! Let’s make the most out of this encounter. Jesus always has done great things with bread, even turning it into His Body. Just wait until you see the great things that Jesus can do with you, if you let Him!
+ God bless us on this Feast of Corpus Christi, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!