Homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo· Gen 14:18-20
· Ps 110:1-4
· I Cor 11:23-26
· Luke 9:11b-17
The Bread that Came Down From Heaven Feeds Us!
In theSolemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ we celebrate Christ, the New High priest and Righteous King, who came down from heaven, who feeds us, physically, psychologically and spiritually. We celebrate Christ who feeds our hungry families with food; our divided villages, counties, nations with his healing love; and our broken world with his inviting mercy and soothing unity. We celebrate him, who invites us, who reminds us, to imitate him– his mercy, his love, his smiles, his sense of compassion, his empathic presence, his active pursuit for unity, his pragmatic charity and his total self-giving!
Pope Urban IV (1264) during years of Saint Thomas Aquinas instituted this celebration to encourage our devotion to Christ, and Eucharistic worship in hymns, songs, processions, genuflections, adoration, veneration and visitations of Christ who is ever present with us in the Blessed Sacraments, in our midst and through our neighbors, and in our various socio-political an religious needs.
In the Gospel of reading of today he is present to the hungry multitude. He provides them with seats. He provides them with his compassion. He provides them with surplus food and smiles (Luke 9:11-17). What does this say to us in a world where love, compassion for one another and genuine care and provision for the poor and the needy, that Pope Francis also speak of in his preaching and writings, are far-fetched?
Similar event is seen in the Book of Genesis 14, put into music in Psalm 110 “You are a priest in the line of Melchizedek.” We don’t know much about this Melchizedek except what we learn and read from the scriptures. He was a king of Salem, at least this we know. And his name means “a righteous king”, and priests. But we don’t know who was his father, mother or family. When Abraham came back victorious from a local war this “righteous king and priest offered Abraham bread and wine. He also blessed Abraham who offered him a tithe- tenth of what he had.
In our Christian faith and Catholic tradition this “righteous king/Melchizedek” is type of Christ spoken of in the Gospels, especially today’s Gospel, where he feeds and shows his love, mercy and compassion for the hungry, and provides them with life! The question then is, if Christ could give us his life, his body, his blood on the cross, his blessings, his love who are we then not to worship, imitate, adore and obey him, though not only our devotions, prayers, but love and charity towards our neighbors– Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, so you do unto me (Matt 25)!
Saint Paul insists on this same point in the 2nd reading (1 Cor 11:23-26) when he says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”As we celebrate the solemnity of corpus Christi, let reflect on how well we have imitate Christ, in his mission of sharing and unity, in his mission of love and charity and in his mission of sharing our bread, drinks, time and talents with our neighbors.