My Dear Sisters and Brothers! On this Solemnity of Corpus Christi we, the followers of Christ, reposition ourselves in such a way that our full attention is given to Jesus Christ. After all the Eucharist is Jesus. Our repositioning is not unusual though. We do it every Sunday and every day at Mass. When the Word of God is proclaimed to us we say: Thanks be to God and Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the words we hear come from our God who created us, who sustains us in being, and who awaits us at the end our life. Both the second reading and the Gospel today nurture in us this belief.
St Paul tells us about the institution of the Eucharist. This passage from the first letter to the Corinthians is the oldest testimony about the Eucharist. It was written even before the Gospels were. St Paul didn’t hear these words from Jesus but he did hear them when after his conversion he attended the Eucharist. The words were treasured, uttered and passed on together with the priesthood. ‘This is my body, which is for you, do this as a memorial of me… This is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’
The event from the Gospel about the multiplication of bread and fish was not simply spectacular but reassuring us in our following of Christ Jesus. The people who came to Jesus ended up hungry but first they were spiritually hungry. They hungered for the word of God. That’s why they followed Jesus. They didn’t expect to be given a meal at the end of the day. They wanted Jesus’ Good News. Those people are an early image of us, the Church. They challenge our following. Do we hunger for Jesus’ word? Do we hang on Jesus‘ lips?
What happens when we do? We can witness it in the second part of the Eucharist. When the words which St Paul recorded, when the words recorded by the Evangelists about the institution of the Eucharist, are uttered ordinary bread and wine become Divine Body and Blood of Jesus. Every time I hold Jesus’ Body and Blood in my hands I pray that having pronounced the Words of Holy Scriptures over me during the Liturgy of the Word I can be transformed into likeness of Jesus too, like this bread and wine are.
The nuns from the show I mentioned at the beginning had only to move their chairs to face their mother superior. We, the followers of Christ, are called every day to be the people who listen to Jesus, who look at their lives through Jesus’ Good News and who believe that it is worth living up to the message of the Gospel.