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Homily (Reflection) for the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year C (29th May, 2016) on the Gospel and the Solemnity

Gen 14:18-20;
Ps 109:1-4. (R. v. 4);
1Cor 11:23-26;
Lk 9:11-17.

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) originated in France and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264. It is celebrated on the Thursday following the Trinity Sunday or on the following Sunday where this Solemnity is not a holyday of obligation.[1] The primary purpose of this feast is to focus our attention on the Eucharist. And secondary upon the Body of Christ as it is present in the Church. The Church is called the Body of Christ because of the intimate communion which Jesus shares with his disciples. This Feast is accompanied with public Eucharistic processions, which serve as sign of common faith and adoration.[2] However, this procession takes place on the last Sunday of the year, Solemnity of Christ the King, in regions where this period of the year is within the rainy season.

Topic: Deficiency to superfluous.

Jesus welcomed the crowd who followed Him. He taught them and also healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, His disciples came up with this suggestion, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” But Jesus insisted, “You give them something to eat.” They were astonished and said, “We had no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” They were about five thousand men. He made them sit in groups of about fifty each. Jesus then took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and then gave them to the disciples to share to them. In the end, “...all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.”

Beyond the multiplication of loaves and fish as we see in today’s gospel, Christ gave us His true Body and Blood for He said, “Take, eat; this is my body” (Matt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19; 1Cor 11:24). He also said while giving us the chalice, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt 26:27b-28; Mk 14:24). He offered these for our salvation, cf. Jn 10:11; 1Pt 2:24; Col 1:24. No love is greater, cf. Jn 15:13. Christ asked us to replicate this love among ourselves, cf. Jn 13:34. 15:12. How then do we do this?

It was half-way through the school year, and the principal was lecturing the teachers during the faculty meeting. He presented a painful list of all their failures, flaws and shortcomings. The list of transgressions seemed endless. Then he announced that the science club was sponsoring a blood drive, and that, to promote faculty involvement, he would donate the first pint of blood.

An anxious voice from the rear of the room asked, “Whose?”[3]

The disciples wanted the crowd to be sent out to fend for themselves but Jesus insisted that they give them something to eat. And that voice that sought to know whose blood would be donated first in our story must have wonderful excuse/s why it should not be his/hers. But when the disciples listened to Jesus and offered those meagre loaves and fish, the crowd was fed and what was left over filled twelve baskets.

Many die today untimely of lack of basic necessities. As we celebrate the Corpus Christi today, Christ reminds us to offer ourselves for these to live just as He offered Himself for us to live.  Surely, we have different reasons but Christ insists, “You give them something to eat.” If we listen to Him as the disciples did, the world will move from Deficiency to superfluous. But it depends on us. As you eat the Body of Christ and drink His Blood, He expects you to feed others with yours.

Bible Reading: Matt 25:31-46; Jas 2:14-26.

Thought for today: “You give them something to eat”.

Let us pray: Jesus, help us to follow your example and give ourselves for the good of others – Amen.

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[1] The Divine Office: The liturgy of the hours according to the roman rite (1997). London: Collins, p.21.
[3] Thomas, T. (2010). Spice up your homilies. Mumbai: ST PAULS, p. 148.

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