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Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

June 23, 2019

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Year C
[Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa]

There are lots of hungry people in the world.  Some hunger for acceptance because they are continually bullied or made fun of.  Some hunger for peace as they live in countries or in neighborhoods that are fraught with violence.  Some hunger for dignity as they live on the streets and try their best to survive the harsh economic realities that have made them homeless.  Some hunger for truth as they live in a world that purports to let everyone define his or her own truth.  Some hunger for forgiveness because they bear the burden of having hurt another person very deeply, and others hunger for the ability to forgive those who have hurt them so much. 

We all hunger for love and for acceptance.  And so we have before us a vast crowd, larger by far than the crowd to which Jesus spoke, a crowd that is hungry in so many different ways.  We feel stymied, overwhelmed, and powerless before such a great challenge of feeding such a hungry world. 

Today in a special way Jesus challenges us: “Give them some food yourselves.”  We say, “Lord, how can we have enough to feed all this hungry multitude?  We will have to leave that to the government, or to the Church, or to some social service agency.  We simply do not have enough to share with others that will make any difference to them.”  But Jesus insists, “Give them some food yourselves.” 

How can the little we have possibly be enough to feed such a hungry world?  Five loaves and two fish may seem more than even we can offer.  But when we take the little we have, give thanks for it as Jesus did, and let go of it, we might very well be as surprised as the disciples were that late afternoon that Jesus fed the thousands, and that there was more than enough to go around. 

We have no power to do such miracles ourselves unless we are first fed by the Word of God; unless we are first nourished ourselves with the living Bread come down from heaven.  The same Jesus, who now sits at the right hand of the Father in glory, the Word through whom all things were made, is that Bread come down from heaven, whose presence with us we celebrate in a special way today.  We celebrate the Eucharist so often that its very familiarity can blind us to the fact that here we meet the risen Lord Jesus physically, in the same life-changing way that his disciples met him shortly after his resurrection.  It is here that Jesus the Bridegroom makes love to his beloved Bride, the Church, allowing his Body to unite intimately with our bodies in the most holy communion, so that they two can truly become one.  And once we are united with the One who makes himself so small and so hidden, but whose love can feed the hungers of a universe, we have more confidence that, united with him, we can go out from here and feed the hungers of all who long for justice, for peace, for dignity, and for love. 

In a special way today we will take Jesus out to the streets in our Eucharistic Procession from here to the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace.  We will pass many hungry people on the way, whether they see us, are hidden away in their homes, are bothered by us, or are inspired by us.   We will carry the embodiment of Love to them, so that they can be miraculously fed and nurtured by his wonderful presence.  But this should remind us that this is what we do every time we leave this church after having been fed ourselves on the Bread of Angels.  This little morsel of God-made-man that we receive here is to be taken out by us, as if we were all monstrances showing the love of Jesus visibly and concretely to all we meet.  We may not fully understand how Jesus fed the multitudes with so little so long ago, and we may not fully understand how he continues to do so today through us.  But if we offer ourselves, who have been nourished by such rich food and joyful drink, the world itself will be amazed at how many hungry people can be fed.