Dear Believers in the Christ,
We celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This feast focuses on what we do every day; celebrate the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We may take this for granted, so at the end of the Easter season, we reflect on the Most Holy Trinity and the Eucharist.
Luke 9:11B-17 offers us a story of Jesus that reveals his abundance. There is a large crowd of people who are hungry. They have been satisfied by hearing Jesus’ teaching and being in his presence. So they shared five loaves of bread and two fish. Even though there were five thousand people, they had fish and bread left over. This miracle comes to us in order to reflect on the message of what the Mass is for us and what Eucharist can be for us who consume the Real Presence of Jesus nearly every day.
We are all hungry for God. God alone initiates this reality. God creates us in order for us to long for love, integrity and justice. We are given a taste of God’s real presence every time we receive the Eucharist. However, there is more for us to see, to realize and to become when we taste the Real Presence of Christ Jesus. The Eucharist is not just a liturgical action. Receiving communion is not just a rule of the Church or a rote gesture.
The Eucharist offered to every human heart is a deep gift from God. This gift is shrouded in love, love for each and every person. This gift of bread and wine is meant to heal our hearts with such abundance of hope, with everlasting integrity and joy. For most people, Mass remains simply something we just do, not something we all become. There is something far deeper in the external white host and a sip of cheap wine. In every morsel and in every sip, there is the miracle and profound love of Christ Jesus, uniting us in the Trinity, giving us a glimpse of heaven itself.
In the gospel, Jesus tells the disciples to give the people some food themselves. Jesus is asking for their initiative to feed and to comfort. I believe this is an important part of the gospel passage today. We are to become what we eat. In other words, God feeds us in so many ways we cannot even imagine. If we take this food seriously, we can find his real presence in our hatred, in our violence and in our apathy. We can find healing in our regrets and in the tragic moments that separate us from family members. We can heal our politics and become people of wisdom in the center of the Eucharist. If all of that is true, then we must learn to live in our world the love we receive.
We become the Eucharist in the world; this is the mission of the Church. We are to feed the hungry, shepherd the lost and quell those who crave hatred. We are to heal the toxic divisions of violence and corruption. We are to feed people ourselves as the gospel suggests. We are to become the Real Presence of Christ in our fragile world. We break open our lives, just as the bread is broken. We pour out our lives, just as the wine is poured out. We are the Body of Christ who feeds others and offers hope for every person in our world.