Life in Christ Week 10: High Point

(Homily for Corpus Christi Year A )

Message: Life in Christ reaches its high point in the Eucharist, the Mass.

Happy Father's Day!

This year Father's Day falls on Corpus Christi Sunday - the Body and Blood of Jesus: also the tenth and final homily in our series Life in Christ. We began on Easter Sunday with the theme of obedience which in its deepest sense means listening. Life in Christ means listening to Jesus. As we saw with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we listen to Jesus in the Scriptures and the sacraments, above all, the Eucharist, the Mass.

In today's Gospel we see two dimensions of the Eucharist. First, Jesus is the "living bread" come down from heaven. He alone responds to our hunger. We can fill our lives with lots of things but it's like eating candy bars and potato chips. They leave a person nauseated and malnourished. Only Jesus gives real nourishment.

He does it in a surprising way - and this is the second dimension of the Eucharist: "My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink." From the earliest days Christians have seen the Eucharist not only as a symbol of how Jesus satisfies our spiritual hunger, but as real food.

It's interesting that in times of doubt God has confirmed this realism by Eucharistic miracles. Some of these miracles happened years ago when human flesh broke through the host. Some apparent miracles have happened more recently, for example in Buenos Aires, where blood appeared on the host. Scientists have examined the hosts and determined that the flesh is heart muscle and the blood is likewise human - actually type AB - the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin. I'll leave it to scientists to analyze Eucharist miracles. For me Jesus' words are enough: "My flesh is real food. My blood is real drink."

Jesus fills us and feeds us. I invite you to join me in lifting up Jesus. When I lift up the Host, the Body of Jesus, and the chalice, his Precious Blood, I do it not only for me but for you. Likewise we lift up Jesus on Sunday morning with benediction at the conclusion of 14 hours of Eucharistic Adoration. And this Sunday we have the annual Corpus Christi procession.

At the conclusion of today's Mass you will receive an invitation to participate in Eucharistic Adoration. We ask you to consider giving one hour for prayer before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. If you can't give an hour, give 30 minutes or even a brief visit. You can use your visit to put into practice what we are learning in the Take the Plunge Bible Study: How to use the Bible - daily Mass readings - for personal prayer.

You will not regret the time you spend in prayer. Perhaps you remember the story I told on Easter Sunday about the two men chopping firewood. One man chops for eight hours straight. The other chops for fifty minutes, then rests for ten and starts again. The second man splits more wood. How does he do it? He is not stronger than the first man. When they ask him his secret, he says, "During my breaks, I sharpened the ax." Take time to pray. Everything will go better.

This summer I want to help you deepen your relationship with Jesus. This week I will get a little help because we have our annual Priest Days. The theme is "Preaching and the Joy of Priesthood." I hope to learn something that will help as I begin a summer series. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks - but I may prove that wrong! That will be for next week.

For today we see that our Life in Christ reaches its high point in the Eucharist, the Mass: "I am the living bread come down from heaven...whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Corpus Christi, Year A):

2014: Like Someone Dying of Hunger
2011: Afflicted with Hunger
2008: Who May Receive Communion?
2005: Reverence for Eucharist
2002: Broken Bread
1999: Notes for Homilist

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Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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