Homily for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi Year C
Theme: BREAD OF LIFE
(CORPUS CHRISTI -BODY OF CHRIST)
By: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
Homily for Sunday, June 23 2019
A young man who had never read a Bible was taking a walk and saw a piece of paper on the ground. He picked the piece of paper and out of curiosity he was able to read what was written on the torn paper: “I am the bread of life.” He wondered what those words meant. He asked his friends to explain the meaning of the bread of life. One of his friends said to him “Those words must have come out of the Christian book. Do not read the book, otherwise, you will go astray.” The young man insisted, “I must read that book that has this lovely phrase.” He obtained a copy of the New Testament and saw where Jesus said, “I am the Bread of life.” He studied deeply what the bread of life means and later became a preacher who offered his listeners that Bread of life.
Every year, the Church sets aside a special day to reflect on the power of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In Latin, this day is called Dies Sanctissimi Corporis et Sanguinis Domini Iesu Christi (Day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the Lord). The three readings selected for Corpus Christi Sunday make reference to bread. In the first reading from Genesis, bread and wine is brought by Melchizedek; in the second reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup you proclaim his death until he comes again; the gospel reading focuses on feeding the crowd with bread.
The Ordained Priest is in the order of Melchizedek because he offers bread and wine, like Melchizedek did. Melchizedek foreshadows the priesthood of Christ who is the High Priest of the new and eternal covenant and who is the king of Peace and Justice. Melchizedek fed and blessed Abram and that is the role of a priest – to serve and to bless. This was what Jesus did during his ministry – he fed the hungry with physical and spiritual food and blessed people who came to him.
As we celebrate Corpus Christi, we should remember that the Eucharist is an expression of gratitude to God (thanksgiving). The generous action of Abram who presents tithe to Melchizedek is a perfect example of thanksgiving to God. The gesture of Abram is very significant as he give glory to God for his victory.
As we celebrate Corpus Christi we must establish a relationship between Eucharist and our daily lives. Painunkar, a Jesuit priest comments on how our daily life can be disconnected from the Eucharist. He says:
“I saw read a cartoon with the following idea. The mother-in-law goes to the church in the morning. After attending the service and receiving the Holy Communion she comes back home, but on the way shouts at beggars, quarrels with neighbours and on reaching home, fights with her daughter-in-law. The point made is too easy to escape our attention. The Eucharist fails to make any change in the quality of her life and relationships. It has not touched her at all. If the Eucharist does not make any change in our lives, it has failed in its purpose.”
As we celebrate Corpus Christi let us learn from Jesus who fed the hungry. We also experience physical hunger that makes us want to eat and drink; we experience emotional hunger that makes us long for companionship and that keeps us constantly in touch with each other; we experience intellectual hunger that pushes us to study, learn and acquire some new knowledge. We experience spiritual hunger, which makes us to be hungry and thirsty for God and to long for the divine peace he offers us. Jesus was speaking about this spiritual hunger when he said: He said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).
As we celebrate Corpus Christi let us reflect on the words of Jesus to his disciples: “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13). Similarly, he challenges us not to think only about satisfying our hunger, but to think about how we can satisfy those who experience the emotional hunger of loneliness, the physical hunger caused by lack of food and malnutrition, the intellectual hunger of ignorance and those who experience the spiritual dryness, like the deer that yearns for running water, that they may also experience the depth of God’s love.
Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17