The Eucharist Makes It Through

(Corpus Christi, Year C)

Fr. Bruce Neili describes this scene at a busy intersection: On one corner a young man flexes his muscles while a weaker companion look on. Behind them a middle age lady consumes her second banana split. Across the street a storeowner counts his money as the hired hand lies back in a chair and a youth flips through magazines. A driver honks his horn at the car ahead of him. On the cross street the light turns green and the parish Eucharistic minister drives thru to take communion to the nursing home.

Each of the different people at the intersection represents one of the seven capital sins: pride, envy, gluttony, avarice, sloth, lust and anger. For example the muscular youth, pride, and the impatient driver, anger. But the point is not so much the sins, but that the Eucharist makes it through. So it is in our lives. To different degrees the capital sins plague us all. We come to Mass wounded – and having hurt others. Nevertheless, the Eucharist does make it through.

In our readings this Sunday we get a glimpse of how God ordered salvation history to the Eucharist. As far back as Abram, around two thousand years before Christ, there emerges a mysterious figure known as Melchizedek (not so much a name as a title, King of Righteousness). Recognizing him as a priest, Abram gives him 10% of all he possesses. But what is most striking is Melchizedek’s offering – not a bull or sheep, but rather simple elements of bread and wine. (Gen. 14:18)

St. Paul describes how Jesus took those very elements, the night before he died, and transformed them: "This is my body…this cup is the new covenant in my blood." After doing that, the Lord gave what has been described as his “most obeyed command.” From the times when early Christians gathered for the “breaking of the bread” (Acts 2:24; 20:7; 27:35; I Cor 10:16) to the Masses celebrated today by over 400,000 priests, is there any command more obeyed than, “Do this in remembrance of me"? (I Cor 11:14; cf. Lk 22:19)

Consider today’s Gospel. What endures from the multiplication of the loaves are Jesus' actions: “Took…blessed…broke…gave.” (Lk 9:16) We see those gestures at the Last Supper, then once again in a little village called Emmaus. After breaking the bread, Jesus vanishes because he now has a new way of being physically presence. (Lk 24:31)

Here we have the key to why the Eucharist has endured for twenty centuries. Not because it is an exciting ritual like those in pagan religions (and their current revivals). Nor for the virtuosity of its celebrants – we are a quite motley bunch. It’s astounding diffusion can only be explained by the source. Because of who it is, the Eucharist makes it through.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Corpus Christiy - Year C):

2013: Eucharistic Coherence
2010: Why Do I Have To Go To Mass?
2007: Our Daily Bread
2004: Communion for Kerry?
2001: The Eucharist Makes It Through
1998: This is My Body

Complete List:

2013: Eucharistic Coherence
2012: Afflicted with Hunger
2011: Most Precious Possession
2010: Why Do I Have To Go To Mass?
2009: What Have I Given You?
2008: Who May Receive Communion?
2007: Our Daily Bread
2006: Language of the Body
2005: Reverence for Eucharist
2004: Communion for Kerry?
2003: To Worship His Body and Blood
2002: Broken Bread
2001: The Eucharist Makes It Through
2000: Combatting Impatience
1999: Notes for Homilist
1998: This is My Body
Jesus: True Bread of Life (How to Receive and Reverence the Eucharist)

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