Homily- The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ Year C- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Gen 14:18-20; Ps 110:1-4; I Cor 11:23-26 and Luke 9:11b-17
The Living Bread that Come Down from Heaven,
On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ we not only come together to celebrate the compassionate High Priesthood of Christ; what he does for us. He blesses us. He provides for us. He feeds us when we are hungry because he is the living bread and drink that come down from heaven and brings us life.
I have no doubt that when Pope Urban IV in 1264, of the time of Saint Thomas Aquinas instituted this celebration, among the things he had in mind was that we continue to be devoted to Christ, worship him with hymns and songs, processions, genuflections, adoration, veneration, visitations, for he is ever present with us in the Blessed Sacrament of love, at Mass, in the bread we break, in the cup we share, in our neighbors we love, in the Church we listen to, and pray with. He is present on our faith journeys. He is the living bread that come down from Heaven.
In today’s gospel the disciples of Jesus had just return from their mission to give Christ the account of their missionary work. In the scene was a multitude of those who came to listen to Christ about the kingdom of God. It was late and time for dismiss them. But for Christ the bread of life, they must be given something to eat. First of all they were given a seat. With the multiplication of five loaves and two fish Christ the living bread compassionately fed this multitude of 5,000 people , with surpluses that filled about 12 wicker basket ( Luke 9:11-17).
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 Melchizedek except what we learn and read from the scriptures. He was a king of Salem, at least this we know. But we don’t know who was his father, mother or family. When Abraham came back victorious from a local war Melchizedek offered Abraham bread and wine. He also blessed Abraham who offered him a tithe- tenth of what he had.
Melchizedek’s role is that of a priest- the type of Christ- a superior and compassionate high priests, as source of peace, life and righteousness, whom we as Abraham are called to adore, imitate, worship and offer ourselves onto. 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.
This we could do through various ways- devotion, prayers, acts of love and charity. Remember whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters so we do unto God (Matt 25) so we do onto Christ- the Living Bread whom we share at this Mass.
This is the point that Paul makes in the second reading (1 Cor 11:23-26) “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” We relive all that he taught us. He taught us unity and sharing. He taught us of his ever presence in the life of each and everyone of us, the rich and the poor. He taught us how to endure, how to be patient and how to forgive. He taught us how to trust, how to hope, love and how to be compassionate, and how to share our bread and drinks, time and talents with our neighbors.