Bottom line: The Body of Jesus is food in the wilderness, but much more: the memorial of God's Passion that brings us healing, purpose and peace.
Two weeks ago we opened ourselves to the Holy Spirit by saying "kindle in us the fire of your love". We need the Holy Spirit. We can't make it on our own. We need God.
Last Sunday we saw one indication we are made for God. We have this desire to know - not just for the sake of survival or power. We want to know the truth. We are made to know God who is ultimate truth. And we are made to know each other - the Communion of Saints.
But how do we get there? Well, we see this Sunday that Jesus gives a powerful help. When the people were in a deserted place, fainting from hunger, Jesus took two fish and five loaves. He used them to feed an enormous crowd. As Luke says, "They all ate and were satisfied."
This multiplication of food foreshadows an even greater meal. St Luke provides us a clue in the verbs. In multiplying the loaves Jesus takes the bread, says a blessing, breaks the bread and gives it to the disciples to distribute. These same four verbs we hear in the Last Supper. You will hear them again in a few minutes. I will say, "he took bread and giving thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples". And then something that must have shocked the disciples, "This is my Body...given up for you".
I've spoken those words to you many times. This week I complete 10 years as your pastor. (wait for applause) I've tried to give the best I can. At times I may have let you down. Perhaps I hurt you. I ask forgiveness. But there is one thing I have not failed to do. I've given you the Body of Christ.
The Body of Christ is food for our journey - like those people Jesus miraculously fed. But the Eucharist is so much more. In the opening prayer (the collect) we heard "O God who in this wonderful sacrament have left us a lasting memorial of your Passion". Mass - the Eucharist - renews Jesus' Passion. You've probably heard that when we come Mass we are standing at the foot of the cross with Mary and John. When the priest lifts up Jesus in the Host, Jesus lifts us to the Father. Even if you are distracted, Jesus does his work.
The Mass is Jesus' work, but we have our part. In that opening prayer after speaking about the "lasting memorial" of the Passion, we pray that might "revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood".
In these 10 years I've invited you to revere the mystery of Jesus' Body - to come to the chapel for Eucharistic Adoration and like today, take part in our Corpus Christi procession.
Why do we do all this? In one way it's obvious. Jesus is God. You and I were created to worship and glorify God. When we do that - once again to quote the opening prayer we "experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption". Those fruits are healing, purpose, peace - all we long for.
Before concluding I want to say a word about next week. I hope to address the controversy about Pope Francis "changing the Our Father". Next Sunday will be a good opportunity to examine the prayer Jesus taught us, especially the phrase "lead us not into temptation".
For today I ask you to take home this message: The best I can give you is the Body of Christ. The Body of Jesus is food in the wilderness, but much more: the memorial of God's Passion that brings us healing, purpose and peace.
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Amen.
From Archives (Corpus Christi):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru