Happy Father’s day!
I was reading an article about family life. The article speaks about three tables in family life. The first table is the Altar where we celebrate Eucharist as divine family, second table is dining table where the whole family shares their life as human family and third one is bed where husband and wife share their love. The article concludes with a recommendation that we must approach these three tables with respect and due importance. Do not clutter your dining table, make it clean. If you are not faithful to your spouse stop it.
Today we are celebrating the first table where we receive life from Jesus in the form precious body and blood. Church calls it feast of Corpus Christy.
In the book of Genesis, we read our problems started with a bad meal of our first parents. By eating a fruit from a forbidden tree, they lost paradise, they became sick, they lost relationship with God. When Jesus came to the world, he regained it, he reestablished a meal. Jesus took bread, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. And this meal give us life, life in abundance, and a close relationship with God.
If you have read any stories of pilgrims and pilgrimages, we know that they carry with them a bag of food for their Journey. In Sanskrit, it’s called padheyam- food for feet. As Catholics, we believe we are pilgrims on earth until we reach our destiny. During this pilgrimage, we need spiritual nourishment. And it is the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ that gives us strength and life. When we are in sickness, sadness we know that Eucharist is the place to go for comfort and care. Today we must thank God for this wonderful meal that God is preparing for us on this altar. There is Spanish saying, ‘bread and wine will take you to your destiny’. Yes, this precious body and blood of Jesus will take us to the destiny. Jesus says in today’s gospel "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Dear brothers and sisters when we are spiritually down, when we are spiritually sick, remember God has given us this great healing medicine- Eucharist.
A young student asked a priest: "Why are you a Catholic?"
The priest answered: "Because of the Resurrection." The student pressed the question: "That explains why you are a Christian, but why are you a Catholic?"
"Because of the Eucharist," he replied. Yes, EUCHARIST makes us different from other Christians, we believe in the Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus in the wine and bread priest consecrate.
During the Eucharist a big miracle happens. Theologians call it as transubstantiation. Which means the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration. We have crucifix in the church, when we look at the crucifix we see the image of Jesus but his presence may not be there. If we look at the bread that priest consecrate we may not see the image of Jesus but he is really present in the bread. That’s why we always light a lamp near the tabernacle and we receive the Eucharist with due preparation and reconciliation. Pope John Paul second who was so much devoted to Eucharist said, “in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the Saviour, who took flesh in Mary’s womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer himself to humanity as the source of divine life". Jesus lives among us in the form of precious body and blood.
This feast, feast of precious body and blood must be celebrated in our lives. How? In the old testament sacrifice they offered first fruits, it can be grain, fruits, lamb.. When we see the sacrifice in the new testament we see Jesus offering himself on the cross. Here the offer and the offered is the same person. What does it mean? It means we cannot separate our lives from the Eucharist. We have to be offer and offering.
Eucharist become meaningful when we offer ourselves to others, to our children, parents, spouse and those who need us. Life with Eucharist is personal. Eucharist never ends here in the church; Jesus wants to take him to others. A priest said Eucharist become like an ornament, we wear it on Sunday and remove it for the rest of the week. This cannot be that way. Our communion must transform in to love, if not the celebration of Eucharist is useless. Remember the first thing Mary did after consuming Jesus, she went and helped her cousin Elizabeth. That’s the best example what we should do after communion. Mother Tereasa of Calcutta and her sisters daily spend one hour in front of the Eucharist before they went to the street to help people. As a conclusion of my homily, I leave to questions to reflect: how much I love the Eucharist? Am I turning receiving Jesus’ body and blood in to love?
Fr. John Pozhathuparambil OFMConv.