Sunday, June 2, 2013

Gospel Reflection

June 02, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
by Rev. Fr. Marvin Mejia
(Assistant Secretary General, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines)
7:15AM Mass, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati


Reading 1 Gn 14:18-20

In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
"Rule in the midst of your enemies."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
"Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
"You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.

Reading 2 1 Cor 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,  that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,  took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,  "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,  you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Gospel Lk 9:11b-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty." They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.


What are the most important words ever spoken on this world? There are many memorable words spoken by saints, presidents and popes. The words of Jesus, quoted by St. Paul that says, "This is My Body, this is My Blood", are the most important words ever spoken. They have shaped the life and spirituality of billions of people in many generations. 

Today's Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is a feast that is centuries old. And this is a feast that is very Catholic. Today, we reflect on the heart of the Eucharist where lies the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus' gift to the Church on the night before He died was not the gift of His parables or His blessings, but the gift of His own self in form of Bread and Wine. 

The Eucharist celebrates Jesus Himself - Body and Blood, soul and divinity. That is why every time we receive Holy Communion, we are in close contact with Jesus than was possible to anyone, during His earthly life. In the Eucharist, the actual distance between ourselves and Christ vanishes. Jesus gave us the Holy Eucharist as a place of unity, to draw to Him His Disciples, and them, to each other. 

It is, therefore, an odd thing that the Holy Eucharist or the Holy Mass has been a place of contention or debates for many years. Maybe it is a sign of how central the Holy Mass is, to the Catholics, that we are so sensitive to any changes introduced. There have been debates about translations, gestures, postures, how to receive Communion, who can give Communion, and who can receive Communion. Of course, it is important to remember that receiving Holy Communion is not simply a personal gesture, but that we are in communion with Christ and the Church. Catholics, or those who are claiming to be Catholics, who have not followed the Gospel, who are in serious sin and whose lifestyle depart from the Gospel, and who do not believe what the Catholic Church teaches, should refrain from going to Communion. That is the universal and common teaching. 

However, the pre-condition for each mass and the invitation to Holy Communion is not whether another person is receiving worthily, but whether I myself am receiving Holy Communion worthily. Am I in union with the Church and what it teaches - not just one teaching, but in all that the Church teaches? Am I in the state of grace? Am I trying to be an honest follower of Jesus? Communion - receiving the most precious Body and Blood of Christ - is more than just receiving. Coming to Communion is an act of renewing our commitment to Jesus. It is a statement of belief in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a commitment to unity with the Church and all Catholics. Coming to Communion, which is receiving Jesus in His most precious Body and Blood, is not a perfunctory gesture, but a profound action of faith in Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, we all live to examine the consistency of our life with the Gospel. If we avoid mortal sin but are still lacking in faith, the Lord will lead us to become stronger followers. That strength and grace comes from the Holy Eucharist. On this Feast of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we can examine ourselves and try to make the words and sacrifice of the Mass our words and our sacrifice. We receive our penance together with the congregation and make sure that we join the real congregation on the mass on Sunday, and not just the 'television' congregation. Do we come to spread goodwill and peace every Sunday?

The Corpus Christi Sunday is the best time to refresh our reverence and thanks to the renewing our commitment to the Blessed Sacrament. For the Eucharist is the Sacrament of Church life. It is the center of our life.