Homily (2) Solemnity of Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ- Year A: Fr. Michael UdoekpoReadings: Deut 8:2-3,14b-16a; Ps 147:12-15, 19-20; 1 Cor 10:16-17 and John 6:51-58
Christ, the life-giving Bread
On this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), we celebrate Christ the life-giving Bread. We contemplate Christ the source of life, whose presence in our midst is real, and who accompanies us on our journeys.
This same God accompanied the Israelite on their journeys. In moments of hunger he provided manna for them in the wilderness. And when they were thirsty he provided fresh drinking water for them, through the leadership of Moses.
The first reading of today, though Moses’ mouth, summons everyone to remember God’s provision, his goodness and his constant presence with us, on our journeys: “ Moses said to the people, remember how forty years now the Lord your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction… he afflicted you with hunger, and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to your father…(Deut 8:2-3,14b-16a).
The implication of this “hunger” “feeding”, “hunger” ‘feeding,” is that human beings does not live by material bread and physical water alone, but by every words, and values that flows from Christ Jesus.The Gospel reading of today, John 6:51-58, in a Eucharistic context points to bread as the flesh of Christ, the wine as the blood of Christ the source of life. Today’s gospel contrast Christ with the material manna the Israelite ate in the desert. The wilderness’ manna did not stop the Israelites from dying in the wilderness nor from further hunger. But whoever receives the sacrament of the new covenant, and participate in the blood and the body of Christ is not only blessed (1 Cor 10:16-17), but will live forever.
Two things that we could learn from today’s solemnity, enveloped in the metaphors of bread and wine, expressed in the readings include the facts that: (1) there are still all kinds of hunger in the world- material and spiritual, in all parts of the world- Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas etc. There still, many today, who cannot afford daily nor weekly bread. The world must work hard to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, recently articulated in Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium; (2) human beings do not live by materialism, secularism or on their human preconception of divine revelation alone. Ordinarily bread are not enough.
But, rather, in Jesus who is the source life, through his gifts of words and sacrament. We live by his gospel values of prayer, unity, forgiveness, humility, charity, mercy, kindness, righteousness, compassion, being presence for one another, listening to one another, and selfless love, need to be reread, preach, and appreciated from the pages of the scriptures. Believers must also endeavor to put into daily and constant practice Jesus’ values, words, participation in the sacraments, and teachings as whole. This is the life- giving bread needed to sustain us, and heal our broken world, today.