Corpus Christ, Solemnity Sunday A
June 14, 2020
John 6: 51-58
By Rev. John Tran
It is interesting to note that often we wish that we had been alive when Jesus walked the earth. How much better we would have known him; how much more we would know and understand; how blessed we would be to have been in his presence and listened to his words; then we would have been so much closer to him.
And yet, it was only after Jesus died, arose, and ascended that he did the most for us; more than when he lived on earth before these events. It was only after he died and rose that our sins were forgiven; only after he rose did we become the very children of his Father; only after he rose did we become part of his very body; only after he ascended and sent his Holy Spirit did we really understand who Jesus was and what he wanted. And only now are we able to take Jesus whole being into ourselves as we receive his Body and Blood.
Only when we understood what he had done were we able to do what he wanted: to become part of his body and make him present in our world; to be nourished by him weekly or daily when receiving him at Mass. This is truly a greater gift than being alive to listen to him on earth; many who did that, were not convinced as to who he was and what he wanted.
I think of a painting of Elijah on a mural in the St. Joseph Abbey refectory. It is of Elijah under that lone Broom tree wanting to die since Jezebel was trying to kill him; The angel come to him twice with bread and water and said to him: “Get up and eat; for your journey may be too much for you.” Today we celebrate one of Jesus greatest gifts to us: enabling us to take him physically into us; to nourish our spirit; to give us his life. If we take Jesus into our very selves, we can be his presence and bring a little of his Father’s Kingdom into being. Let us take the advice the angel gave to Elijah when he just wanted to give up and die: “Take and eat, for you journey may be too much for you.” But fortified with Jesus’ Body and Blood, our journey will be completed as the Father would want.
Cardinal Dolan relates: “One of the seminarians who gives tours of St. Peter’s told me of an interesting incident. He was leading a group of Japanese tourists who knew absolutely nothing of our Faith. With particular care he explained the great masterpieces of art, sculpture and architecture. He finally concluded at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel trying his best to explain quickly what it was. As the group dispersed, an elderly man, who had been particularly attentive stayed behind, and said, ‘Pardon me. Would you explain again this “Blessed Sacrament?’ Our student did, after which the man exclaimed, ‘Ah, if this is so, what is in this chapel is a greater work of art than anything else in this basilica.’” Today’s feast of Corpus Christi is intended to make us value and appreciate the worth of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist; the Eucharist is our food for the journey. But it is not a self-centered journey. Our gathering as Christ's body and blood at Mass and receiving him into our bodies has an outward thrust for us to be that Christ in the world around us.