Deut 8:2-3, 14-16; John 6:51-58
“If I only know, I never. Sometimes, it hurts.” I remember that these are the very words I uttered in my homily during my Thanksgiving Mass after my ordination. The people were surprised and looked at me when I said these. I could see in their faces a question like if I regretted my decision to become a priest. So I explained to them why I said so.
I uttered these words because I remember what my seminary professor in Canon Law had said that it is very difficult to get a dispensation from the Pope when I will decide to go out from the priesthood and get married especially if you have a good record in the seminary.
To tell you frankly, I have a good record in the seminary. I did not go out from the seminary during the day, only during the night. So the seminary rector could not see me because when I went out during the night, he was already asleep. That is why I became a priest, ha, ha, ha. I’m just joking.
I say this to you that it was during the Feast of the Corpus Christi or the Feast of the Body and blood of Jesus Christ that I celebrated my first mass – a Thanksgiving Mass, because I already received the gift of Ordination shared to me by my bishop which was given by God Himself. This gift, I should give too to other people.
I’m really happy that my first Mass happened during this feast because there is a connection between this gift of ordination and the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. That it is my work to give and celebrate the Sacraments together with the people especially the Holy Eucharist. For example, it is good also that if we have religious activities and other activities, these begin or end with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It is because, in my own reflection, the Holy Eucharist gives us the strength especially in our spiritual life.
Just like our physical bodies, we need food for our bodies in order to live. But as Christians, we also need another kind of food in order that our spirits and souls may continue to live. The food par excellence for our spirit is the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, the food and drink Jesus Himself under the form of bread and wine.
In the gospel, Jesus says: “I myself am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who feeds on this bread will live forever. The bread it will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
When we do reflect on the word ‘hunger’, it teaches us something about the Eucharist. Without adequate food for our body, we become weak and cannot work. We become easy victims of disease and sickness. Without food we quickly lose interest in anything cultural and spiritual; we lose our freedom and become enslave by poverty and injustice. In other words, without food we cannot live, a decent and full life. We cannot enjoy health, work, learning and freedom.
It is no different in our lives of the spirit. Without the food of the Eucharist, we become weak spiritually and incapable of reaching out to help others. We become easy victims to temptations and depressions. Without the bread of life we quickly lose interest in reading the Bible and in praying. We lose our freedom in the spirit and become enslave by the materialism of the world. In other words, we need the Eucharist to become fully alive in our lives of the spirit.
So to end this sharing, by eating this food of the Holy Eucharist, we show in effect, that we no longer live by bread alone or by beer alone or by television alone or by cars, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. The Supreme Word of God became flesh in Jesus who is now present in the Eucharist. Not only that, it is also a people sharing its bread with others – bread for the hungry by helping the poor, bread for the oppressed by fighting for justice, bread for the lonely by offering friendship, bread for the despairing by giving encouragement.
Pray that we may truly become a people a people of faith who live on the real food that is Jesus Himself and find ways to fulfill each others’ needs.
See Today’s Readings: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)