Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi
Theme: *”No gift could have been more fitting, and no sacrifice could have been more pleasing to God than the sacrifice of the body and blood of His Son. In His body and blood is the very life of the church; in Him we draw strength as Christians”.*
By: Fr. Clem Mezie Aladi.
Homily for Sunday, June 23 2019
GOSPEL: LUKE 9:11B-17
My dearest brethren, today we celebrate God’s greatest gift to mankind, the gift of His body and body.
Although we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday, the Church wants to emphasize its importance by this special feast, formerly called “Corpus Christi.” It was Pope Urban IV who first extended the feast to the universal Church. This is one of the few feasts left in which we observe a procession and a sung “Sequence.” On Holy Thursday Jesus gave us the gift of Himself in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist when He says at the last supper ” _take this…this is my body_ .” He never meant a representation or symbol of His body , but His very self, soul and divinity. The Church has through the ages interpreted and understood these words of Christ at the last supper in the literal sense and has used the term “transubstantiation” to explain the change in the substance of bread and wine.
*WE ARE PRIVILEGED*
My dearest we are
privileged to be so much loved by God, to have been offered this great gift of thanksgiving to God for the work of human redemption. It is a sacrifice and sacrament of our salvation. The bread of eternal life and the blood of the new covenant shed in atonement for our sins. It is the bloody sacrifice of Calvary offered in an unbloody manner at the altar.
*DO WE STILL DOUBT THE REAL PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST.*
Do you still doubt the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Are you not convinced yet after reading about Eucharistic miracles for instance that of Lanciano Italy. Have you had a personal experience of Christ’s abiding presence in the Eucharist?. Today offers us another opportunity to reflect and to appreciate this great gift of God’s presence so as to draw the maximum benefit from it and be strengthen in our faith in this sacrament of God’s love.
We live in a world where many do not believe in things beyond what the eyes can see. Everything is limited to sense perception. For such faithless and narrow minded Christians, what the priest does at the altar may appear to be a biblical drama of some sort. Misunderstanding and misinterpretation of Christ’s words at the last supper, had made the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist a subject of many controversies and disagreements in the past and in the present, among many Christian groups. Far from all these misconceptions, the truth shines out glaringly. Personal experiences, testimonies and miracles speaks volumes of His divine presence. However, we don’t need miracles or proofs to believe in the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist under the species of bread and wine. Faith believes what the eyes cannot see and what the mind cannot grasp ( _okwukwe na enye ihe nke nti na anya enweghi ike inye_ ) so believe and have faith. Approach this sacrament with reverence, genuflect in His presence in the terbanacle or in the chapel where He is exposed. Be in a state of grace to receive him lest you bring condemnation upon yourself.
*WE NEED TO APPRECIATE WHAT WE HAVE?*
_There is fulfilment in giving when the gift is appreciated by the reciever._
We have to appreciate what we have and stop pursuing shadows or searching for what is not real. Many Christians in our generation has lost faith in the Eucharist as as such has taken to charms.Many indeed have entered into covenant with the devil, performing rituals and all forms of Idolatrous practices in their search for protection and solutions to challenging problems of life. Imagine someone someone after receiving communion puts on His charms for protection?. Isn’t this ridiculous?, Does it mean that for such a person Christ whom he/she received is not powerful enough to protect him/her or is the charm to augment if Christ fails to work fast?. Honestly this is absurd, it is time we rethink our options and stop deceiving ourselves. Do we still believe that God is omnipotent and that God has given us Himself as food and is ever present among us. Why would you fear when God is near and when He lives in you?. What problem are there that God cannot solve? All we need is to demonstrate that we believe in Him, just a little faith my dear and God takes care of the rest.
Today’s first reading describes how the priest-king Melchizedek offered a thanksgiving-sacrifice of bread and wine to God for the welfare of the patriarch Abraham and shows how the event prefigured the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Priest-King Jesus. It is also as a sign of thanksgiving for Jesus’ victory won over sin and death.
In the second reading, St. Paul gives the earliest account of what Jesus said and did during the last meal he celebrated with his followers, interpreting it as a sacrifice.
Gospel describes Jesus’ miraculous feeding of five thousand people by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. Theologically, this feeding is a prefiguring of Jesus’ gift of the Eucharistic bread that would spiritually nourish those who believe in him.
Vatican II states that as a sacrifice ” *the Holy Eucharist is the center and culmination of Christian life* ” (Lumen Gentium, 11).
~Because it enables us to participate in Christ’s sacrifice as a present reality and to benefit from its fruits in our own lives.
~Because it helps us to worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the most perfect way.
~ Because it strengthens our charity and unity with Jesus and each other in a joint offering of his Body and Blood to the Father.
~Because it gives us a lasting memorial of Christ’s suffering, death and Resurrection, reminding us of our obligation to make loving sacrifices for others.
*LET THE BOND OF CHARITY BE STRENGTHENED IN THE EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION*
The Holy Eucharist strengthens our bond of communion with each other and with God. Why are there hatred, suspicion, fighting, quarrels, among those who receive the same body and drink of the same cup? Why are Catholic families tearing apart? Perhaps the reason could be that those who receive Christ do not dispose themselves to be influenced, directed or controlled by Him whom they received. We receive Christ in a darkened soul and that is why we produce evil fruits. Judas did the same and betrayed his master. God cannot dwell in a heart filled with hatred, unforgiviness and malice. If you receive Him still bearing grudges for someone, or still hardened in heart to forgive another, then your reception is in vain because the grace of that reception is not there. This does not mean that Christ ceases to be Christ or is diminished even if a serial killer or a prostitute should receive Him, but the fact remains that the grace of the sacrament cannot be infused in the soul of such a recipient and in addition, the recipient brings condemnation upon himself/herself.
We ought to become what we receive– other Christs. If you are a communicant, demonstrate it by your actions that Christ lives in you. Let your actions and thoughts be pure; be a good person. Let people around you, experience God in you; this is the only way we can strengthen the bond of charity among us and with God.
*LET US ADORE HIM IN THIS SACRAMENT OF HIS LOVE*
*In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering.*
– Benedict XVI
We may be guilty of some sort if we only recieve Christ and do not adore Him. Our love for Christ is incomplete if we do not adore Him in the blessed sacrament. Let us adore Him and be filled with this grace.
May God help us to have faith in Him in this most Holy Sacrament of His love and may our receiving him transform us and our world.
*Prayer* :My sweet Jesus, give me the grace that I may always receive you in a state of grace. And may my daily reception and adoration of your most precious body and blood transform me unto the likeness of yourself, that others may experience you in me. Amen
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem Mezie Aladi.