The Eucharist reveals how Christ allowed himself to be broken to give life to others … we must do the same to find lasting joy
As we listen to the Gospel, many of us can sympathise with the Jews who were confused by what Jesus was teaching them: it was their first time. People, in difficult times, are looking for quick fixes and miracles. The big miracle between God and us, however, is that God wants us, and trusts us, to be co-creators with God.
In recent years, it has been sad to hear that many Catholics no longer believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Like most Protestants, they are believing it is only a symbol of Jesus at the Last Supper.
Perhaps this is understandable as scandals in the Church involving priests and Bishops have taken their toll; and, even now, our youth tell us that many priests give long homilies and then rush through the consecration at high speed, as though it were not so important.
In addition, our youth shared, some priests are rude and get angry at people during the Mass. Money can become more important than anything else. Yet, the Mass is the Eucharist.
So let me, as far as I can, apologise to our people for the scandals that have shaken the faith of many people. The priest is supposed to be in persona Christi, representing Christ here today. I apologise personally if I have disappointed anyone by my actions, or inaction.
However, I can confidently say, that Christ is bigger than all the faults of the priests. We need your help to gently challenge the behaviour of priests if they are not doing good. Remember, we are your servants and you should not fear to tell us the truth.
Just as we do not condemn a whole family because one parent or one child has done a big mistake, do not lose your faith in Jesus Christ because of one or two priests.
Even Jesus lost one of His Apostles at the Last Supper, the one who betrayed him. And, then, many of the Apostles denied Jesus a short a while later.
Be convinced that God is bigger than all our mistakes and weaknesses. And let each of us take responsibility to safeguard the Church by challenging wrong-doing instead of walking away.
Believe in the truth that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. And we convince other people of this truth by our actions of love and forgiveness to those who hurt us. If we go to Communion and then come home acting rudely and shouting, then we have sinned badly.
Normal food, when consumed through the stomach, breaks down and becomes part of us. However, the Eucharist does not become part of us: we become part of the Eucharist!
The Eucharist, the real Body of Christ, is something active and alive: Jesus says: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.”
Jesus is active and, if we want to experience the joy of Jesus Christ, then we will also be active in actions of patience, gentleness, listening, forgiving, and helping others.
Take the powerful example of parents who, despite betrayal by a partner or child, rarely give up on their children: especially our mothers. Look around Kenya and see the huge number of mothers who have been abandoned or abused by their husbands, yet they struggle on slowly killing themselves as they work all the harder to support their children.
This is a true imitation of Christ who “poured his life out like a libation” to win us for eternal life. And the Resurrection of Christ reveals to us the great love God has for us that, at the end, great joy and everlasting happiness comes to those who persevere in loving others.
Corpus Christi brings us back to reflect on, and be renewed in hope, that despite everything bad that happens to us, if we persevere in doing good God will raise us up.
Do not take the Eucharist for granted but see it, at every Mass, as a great gift of the strength of Christ becoming part of us. And the sign that Christ has forgiveness us and still wants us.
Jesus left this Sacrament of Himself because we humans need to be able to touch something for comfort and certainty. Think of how kids behave when they lose their favourite toy.
I often awaken in the morning worrying about how I will get everything done in the coming day. But I can truthfully say that, after morning Mass, I always feel more energetic and less worried to face the world: the Eucharist is real, not just a symbol.
The 2nd Reading from St Paul reminds us that through the Eucharist, we enter into communion with God with the people of our community and family – even our deceased family members.
Often, people have an incorrect view of whether they are worthy to receive the Eucharist, because they have not been to Confession. It’s good to be worried, however, promise God you will go as soon as you can and receive Holy Communion to give you strength and courage.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI