Homily for Corpus Christi, Cycle C

posted Jun 1, 2016, 11:58 AM by Church Office   [ updated Jun 1, 2016, 11:58 AM by Michelle Massung ]

            Today we celebrate the feast of the most holy body and blood of Christ. It is truly the real essence of our Catholic faith that we have the privilege of receiving the actual body and blood of Christ himself each and every day if we so choose. The readings for today all play together to bring out this point. In the first reading the priest and king Melchizedek blesses the bread and wine during the Jewish ritual. In gratitude, Abram gives back to God a tenth of all he owns. It is this offering that we get the idea of tithing; 10% of our resources to God and the poor. In the second reading from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives the message to the Corinthians of the last supper narrative because they have been fighting over who should be present and share in the Eucharist. In this community the leaders try to tell the others that they were the only ones that should celebrate this special meal. St. Paul corrects them and tells them that all are to participate in this sacred banquet.

            Now in the Gospel we hear the familiar story of the feeding of the 5000. A few points I would like to make first the five loves and the two fish came from the people. It is believed by most biblical scholars that the five loaves and two fish were the provisions set side by the disciples themselves to be eaten on their journey. When eating a meal the most important part was the bread. The fish was eaten along with the bread just to give the bread some different flavor. At mass we re-enact this aspect of the miracle when the bread and the wine are brought from the people and given to the priest so that through the power of the Holy Spirit he can transform them from the bread and wine to the real body and blood of Christ. This transubstantiation is central to our beliefs as Catholics.

            Now why do we hear about the feeding of the 5,000 on the solemnity of the body and blood of Christ? Because Jesus knew that the people were hungry so he needed to take care of their temporal or human needs before he could address their spiritual needs. Once he had fed them, they begin to trust in him and his message of repentance, of loving God and neighbor, and of his gift of salvation. This same formula is used by missionaries that try to spread the Christian faith to foreign countries. When they first enter a country, the missionaries start by helping to provide for the basic human needs of the people. They feed them and help them to learn how to grow crops. They help them to develop irrigation systems to provide more water to the towns and villages. They set up schools, hospitals, orphanages, and other facilities to help raise the standard of living for the people in these countries. Once the people see that the missionaries care about their physical needs, the people start to trust the missionaries. Once this trust has been established, then the missionaries can start educating them about the spiritual matters. In this way the missionaries can spread the good news to the people.

            What about us here in Philipsburg? Don't we try to do the same by having St. Vincent DePaul and Catholic Charities and Community tend to the needs of the poor and needy? These social service agencies do a great job of meeting the temporal needs of the people. Here in Philipsburg, once these needs have been met then we need to invite them to participate in our church services. Like Christ and the missionaries, these people can be introduced to the message of Christ. This week, find it in your hearts to help support these organizations so that the needs of the marginalized can be met and then welcome them into our churches so that their spiritual needs will be met as well.