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Bishop's Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

There are vast crowds of very hungry people right before our eyes.

By Bishop Larry Silva
June 19, 2022

[Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa]

There are vast crowds of very hungry people right before our eyes.

There are those who hunger for intimacy and think their hunger will be satisfied with pornographic images or pornographic relationships.  But in the end, they are even more hungry for that real human love that often takes so much time and energy to cultivate.

There are those who are hungry for healing as they face a debilitating disease; or whose grief over the death of a loved one is so heavy that it feels like a real handicap in their lives.

There are many who hunger for justice.  Some are fleeing war or oppression in their homelands; others are homeless and struggling to live a dignified life; yet others are are looked down upon because of their customs, their different language, and their different ways of seeing the world.  There are those who hunger for justice for little babies in the womb in a world that has made them so disposible or even despised.

There are vast crowds who hunger for peace.  Some find no peace in their own homes because of years-long patterns of emotional or physical violence.  Others are weary of the vitriolic language of the many political and ideological factions that have divided us so sharply in recent years.

We can easily have the attitude of the disciples of Jesus, thinking that the crowds are so vast and the needs so enormous that we cannot possibly do anything ourselves to feed these multitudes.  Yet here we are at the feet of the same Jesus we heard about in the Gospel, who gives us the same message:  “Give them some food yourselves.”  That miracle of over-abundant satisfaction that Jesus performed is one he wants to continue performing, not ignoring the real human hungers before him but sending out his disciples – us! – to share the pitifully little we have in thanksgiving and love, knowing that he can multiply our meager gifts enormously.

But we cannot do any of this on our own.  Only if we are joined to Jesus and to his great sacrifice of thanksgiving can we even hope to make any dent in the great hungers of the world.  And so for two millennia now, Jesus has made himself present to us in the most miraculous and intimate way, giving himself to us as food and drink to first satisfy our hungers so that we can then go out to satisfy the hungers of the world.  He gives himself so simply, in bread and wine transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that this crucified and risen Lord can be physically with us forever.  We do not go out to the crowds on our own or as individuals only.  Jesus offers us an intimate and holy communion with himself by becoming our very food and drink and thereby uniting us in intimate and holy communion with one another.  It is so little that we can miss its significance, so undramatic that we can take it for granted, or even become bored with it.  But what happens here at this table and from this table is a miracle that angels long for.  It is our way of remembering for all time the self-giving sacrifice of Jesus so that he himself could be the Bread of Life to satisfy the huge hungers of the world.

As he did on that mountaintop so long ago, Jesus opens his Word to us, then takes just a little food and by blessing it, breaking it, and distributing it to us, he enables his present-day disciples to go out and feed a very hungry world.  We do not know how this miracle happens.  It cannot be scientifically explained.  Yet it happens at every Mass we celebrate, so that God’s holy people, nourished ourselves with the Living Bread come down from heaven that is Jesus himself, we can be sent out with the best food we can possibly offer to a hunger world.  And so we go out to that little group of fifty or so, that little sphere of influence to which the Lord sends us, so that we can take the precious little we have, offering it in thanksgiving and worship, and once again enable Jesus to feed vast multitudes with his healing, his mercy, and his love.