“This weekend we celebrate this beautiful feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ, and it is a feast that was really initiated in order that we could focus on the wondrous mystery of God’s love for us within the Eucharist that Jesus truly shares with us his own body and his blood, his very self. During the time of the sheltering in place when unfortunately we were not able to have public Masses I know many people who experienced a really what we’ll call a Eucharistic longing, a desire for the Eucharist. There was a fast from the Eucharist during that time and that was very difficult and so many parishioners have told me about how overjoyed they have been to be able to experience Christ in Holy Communion again that that truly has brought joy to their life and that is as it should be because the Eucharist is that very presence of Christ. Christ comes to us because he loves us so deeply. He loves us so much and we yearn for love within our lives and yes we yearn for the human love of other people, of spouse, of family, of friends, but we also yearn for that divine love that is expressed to us in such a unique way in the Eucharist. We have those words of Jesus in the Gospel today, ‘Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you do not have life within you.’ and many people found that too hard to accept and they walked away. I would encourage you to read the full sixth chapter of John’s Gospel because you see that Jesus doesn’t water it down any, he just repeats it another time and then when they walk away he doesn’t walk after them and say, ‘oh no, it’s just bread and wine. It’s just my spiritual presence is all.’ No, he doesn’t do that. He just says to the others who remain, ‘Are you going to leave too?’ Unfortunately, too many people don’t believe that Jesus is powerful enough to do what he promises and that’s really the act of faith in the Eucharist is that Jesus can do what he says what he promises us that he shares his very self, his own body and blood, his very person sacramentally within the Eucharist and what a tremendous gift that is and how important it is for us to realize the joy that can come from that.
Last night we had first communions and this afternoon at 3:00 once again we’ll have first communions and I always love that time with the children so excited, so joyful about receiving Jesus for the first time, but really every time we share in the Eucharist would that we could have that joy that faith that expectation that is there because we truly need that amazement of God’s love for our human spirit truly years for eternal love. It reminds me what someone mentioned to me the other day they were drawing an analogy and I thought it was kind of interesting. It’s a difficult one though, but he said, ‘You know when the allied troops went in to deliver the concentration camps during the end of the second World War and we’ve all seen those pictures of emaciated individuals, those men and women just skin and bones but still living. They went in there and one of the first thing they did when they saw that hunger was to break open their rations and particularly give them their candy bars or their candy, their sweets which was a beautiful gesture, but some of them died because of that. They didn’t need sugar, they needed protein and because they were given sugar their body couldn’t handle it. In some ways humanity is famished as well. Spiritually we’re malnourished. Spiritually we are in great need and the world so often wants to give us the sugar and the world so often wants to give us the sugar and says if you do this you’re going to be happy, if you do that you’re going to be satisfied, if you acquire this then that’s really where it’s at and all these things are going to make you happy because that’s really what it’s all about and while those things all have their place and I don’t mean to say they don’t, they don’t speak to the heart of our human life and our human need. Those words of St. Augustine that we’ve all heard so many times, ‘You created us for yourself and our hearts are restless until we rest in you.’ The Eucharist is an opportunity for us to begin to rest in the Lord to rest in his presence to rest in his Love for Jesus says, ‘The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides with me and I with him.’ What a beautiful promise that is. What a gift we have in the Eucharist, the very embodied presence of Christ Jesus is a gift with the gift of his eternal everlasting love.”