Sunday June 23, 2014: Solemnity of Corpus Christi
St. Joseph Parish
Cottleville, Missouri, U.S.A.
Dt 8:2-3, 14B-16A / PS 147:12-13, 14-15, 19-20 / 1 Cor 10:16-17 / JN 6:51-58
Do you take Jesus at His word? Do you believe the Bible to be true? Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that we must eat His body and Drink His blood to have eternal life and so today we must profess with the Church that the Eucharist which we are about to consume is Jesus Himself, not some representation, some symbol or some simple remembrance, but Jesus Himself.
Just after saying that we must eat His body and drink His blood, St. John recounts that many of Jesus’ disciples left Him and returned to their former way of life. If Jesus were just speaking figuratively don’t you think He would have called back those who were leaving Him saying something like “hold on, I was just speaking figuratively, it’s not really my body, it only symbolizes my body.” Well Jesus says what he means and means what He says.
Today we are confronted by the truth that the Eucharist we share is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. We are confronted with the truth that the bread and wine, which will be brought up in a few short moments, will cease to be bread and wine and through the power of Christ Himself will become the Body and Blood of Christ. Are we going to run away with the others or take Jesus at His word and fall to our knees and profess our faith.
If we need food to sustain our natural life, should we not also need food to sustain our supernatural life? Just as God provided food, in the form of the Manna that we heard about in the 1st reading, for the Israelites as they wandered the desert after being lead out of Egypt so too He provides the spiritual food we need for our spiritual journey on earth as we journey towards heaven, in the Eucharist. This spiritual food for us is essential. Whether we feel like we get something out of Mass or not we know that by being here and receiving Jesus Himself, we are receiving our essential nourishment. Regardless of how we feel, when we approach this altar every Sunday God nourishes us with our essential food.
Jesus provides Himself for our nourishment firstly by offering Himself to us in the reception of Holy Communion. While this parish does many good things nothing is more important about this parish then the Holy Eucharist. St. Joseph Parish exists so that we can be nourished by the Body of Christ Himself. Daily, here at St. Joseph Parish, our Lord comes to us in the Holy Eucharist to nourish us. Do we take the opportunity to be nourished by our Lord at a minimum every Sunday? Is there a possibility that we may be called to come and receive our great nourishment more frequently by attending Mass during the week as well?
Jesus also offers Himself to us by remaining in the tabernacles of every Catholic Church of the world awaiting us to come and visit Him. If we want to deepen our relationship with Jesus what better way can there be than to come and visit him, to come sit in His presence either reserved in the tabernacle or in the monstrance? If we want to have a relationship with someone don’t we need to spend time with them? Is it possible that God is calling you to spend some time, perhaps just one hour a week with Him present in the Blessed Sacrament perhaps in our adoration chapel here.
7 years ago, when I entered the seminary, I began the practice of spending 1 hour a day with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. This one simple choice has completely changed my life. As anyone who has heard my vocation story knows, at the end of high school I felt a very strong call to the priesthood, but did not want to be a priest As I give myself over to that hour my relationship with Jesus continues to deepen. Jesus is no longer some being in the sky who seems disconnected from me but His true identity shines through as the One who invites me into a relationship with Him. It was only through getting to know Jesus in a personal way through the Eucharist, by being faithful and trusting I was receiving my essential nourishment, even in those days when I did not feel like I was getting anything out of that time, that I was able to see the beauty in God’s call for me to the priesthood and accept that call. It is only through the receiving Jesus daily at Mass and in spending time in prayer before Him daily that I am able to give my self totally each day for Christ. While everyone is certainly not called to spend an hour every day with the Blessed Sacrament, might I invite you to spend sometime with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and watch Him transform your life.
Jesus wants to give Himself to us in the Blessed Sacrament as our nourishment by offering Himself in Holy Mass and waiting for us in the tabernacle. Do we want to accept this gift? Do we truly believe He is present in the Blessed Sacrament? If we truly believe Jesus is present in the Eucharist shouldn’t the Eucharist be primary in our life? Shouldn’t we want to be nourished frequently by Him by receiving Him and spending time in prayer before Him in the Eucharist. This week let’s ask the Holy Spirit to deepen our faith in the Holy Eucharist.
Our Lord says what He means and means what He says. Today we are challenged to accept His word that He is present in the Eucharist. Will we approach the Lord in faith and receive Him who is our spiritual nourishment or will we run away as many of Christ’s disciples did after hearing today’s Gospel? Jesus offers Himself to us as our nourishment. Turn to Him, receive Him frequently in the Holy Eucharist and spend some time with Him in our adoration chapel. Come to Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament and let Him transform your life in unimaginable ways.