Corpus Christi Homily

Posted on 12th June, 2023

Corpus Christi 2023


Death, the bewilderment that comes with it, the sufferings and confusion that can often surround it, are prominent in the news these days.


Life is fragile. Its even more fragile for the victims of the war-induced flooding in the Ukraine, as it is for the survivors who now only have scarce access, if any, to drinking water and even to food. What about the innocent victims of the jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, their bodies left to rot in the heat? Or the 280 dead in the train crash in India?


If I keep this up, we will all end up weeping and that’s not what I seek. I want rather to contrast today’s public, depressing discourse with that of Jesus.  


In today’s gospel account, Jesus, who is really fragile and vulnerable to an early and violent death, talks with vigour about life. He is already aware that he is going to be murdered in a most violent and painful way, yet he lives in hope and in joy. He is not morose and depressed; his discourse is vibrant and optimist. “I am the living bread”, he says, “anyone who eats this bread will live, for ever. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him”. “I draw life from the Father and whoever eats me will draw life from me.”


There is an enticing vitality in what he says. His words give hope and joy. Jesus’s discourse is not about agony and death; it is about hope and joy and fullness of life.


The people who escaped from slavery in Egypt got stuck in the desert. They began to live in fear. They began grumbling against Moses and God, about their hunger and confusion. God used the nature around them to give them food, manna, as though a gift from heaven. This sustained their lives and they grew again in hope. God renewed their hope and with it their life. God demonstrated and proved just how close he was to them: even in their suffering and uncertainty God was with them, shepherding them on the way to the Promised Land.


When Jesus returned to his Father when his time had come, he did not abandon us but gave us his Bread of Life. He left this bread, which is indeed his body and blood, so that we may have life and have it in abundance. By the bread and wine which we share with each other, Jesus shares his life with us. He gives us joy and hope. He encourages us. He helps us rise above the ups and downs of life and remain united with God.


This coming together and sharing are two most important aspects of the Eucharist. A conversation I had recently with some children who made their first Communion not long ago comes to mind. I asked them what was the most important thing they remember about that day? One of them cheerfully replied that what was important for him was being there together with his friends and getting their photo taken together.


I almost said to him, “yes, but that is not so important”. I would have been wrong. The child had seized the truth of our Eucharist. It is Jesus who calls us – to come together – to be with other members of the community of his baptised – to hear his Word and to receive his body and blood in Communion. This togetherness is most important, for the Eucharist is for the Community, the community of disciples. By the Eucharist, Jesus builds up his community, the Church, and we – the Church – we come together to care for each other and to serve each other and to go out into the world to witness to God’s love and to the joy and hope that we experience when we are together with God.


In coming together, we give space to God to be with us. For Jesus said: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.”.


The child was right. He wanted a photo to remember their special occasion. We adults don’t need a photo, for we have the bread and wine, which are the body and blood of he who calls us together in friendship and love.



Make A Comment

Characters left: 2000

Comments (0)