Sunday June 19, 2022
Genesis 14. 18 – 20
1 Corinthians 11. 23 – 26
Luke 9. 11b – 17
Saint Anthony of Padua (whose feast we celebrate every year on June 13) once confronted a man
who mocked the Eucharist. While others made a reverent bow, the ridiculer held back. On his
face he had a look of cold disdain. St. Anthony approached the man and asked him, why he did
not bow to the Sacrament. The man replied that he believed it was nothing more than bread.
Anthony, on one account, challenged the man to a test. Anthony would fast for three days and the
man would have his donkey eat nothing for three days. They then met in a town square where the
man placed a bale of hay twenty feet from the hungry animal. When united, the donkey walked
towards the hay. St Anthony then exposed the Blessed Sacrament and called to the donkey,
“Mule, in the name of the Lord Our God, I command you to come here and adore your Creator!”
The donkey stopped as though someone had pulled him by a bridle, turned and walked to St.
Anthony. The donkey bent his forelegs, bowing to the Blessed Sacrament with his head toward
As we celebrate today the Feast of the Eucharist, the Corpus Christi (the Precious Body and Blood
of Jesus Christ, we feel sad to know that there are millions of fellow Christians around the globe
today do not have any devotion to the Holy Eucharist / do not believe in the real presence of Jesus
in the Holy Eucharist as St. Anthony witnessed. This story may be something of a legend, but it
illustrates an important point. As St Anthony taught, even a dumb animal in its own way pays
homage to its Creator. Saint Mother Theresa of Kolkata once asked a Hindu guy, ‘How do you
define a Christian? He said, ‘A Christian is one who gives.’ It’s true in what he said. His answer
was based on the experience he was having from Saint Mother Theresa and her sisters, from their
sacrificial giving of their lives, energies, talents and money. But he did not know how this
attribute of ‘giving’ came to exist in those sisters. If we had asked Mother Theresa about this
secret of giving she would tell us that the source and energy of the spirit of giving came from the
Eucharist to us is the Body and Blood of Jesus Alive. Jesus proclaimed the effect and result of
partaking in the Eucharist. He said, ‘whoever, eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.
He will remain in me and I in him. The Catholic Church always finds the Word of God to be true.
Our Catholic faith tells us, “The celebration of the Eucharist is the center of the whole Christian
life. It is also the found from which all power of the Church flows.” It all started from the
experience of the early Christians, as they regularly participated in the Eucharist. Consuming the
Body and Blood of Jesus in a sacramental way changes entirely our psychology, our attitudes and
our outlook of life.
Nothing could be further from the truth. St Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, reminds us that
the Eucharist we celebrate is a proclamation of Jesus’ death on which is based the new covenant
between God and ourselves. He also warns us, to carefully administer this Eucharist, namely
eating the bread as the Body of Christ and drinking the Wine as the Blood of Jesus. About fifty
years later St. Ignatius, Bishop of the great city of Antioch, was defending this teaching, which he
had received from the apostles. He warned faithful Christians about those who “do not confess
that, the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Those people, he said, “deny the gift
of God,” and “are perishing in their own disputes”. The Church historian J.N.D. Kelly ( himself a
Protestant) sums up our faith in the Eucharist: “Eucharistic teaching,” he wrote, “at the outset,
was …questioningly realist, that is, the consecrated bread and wine were taken and were treated
and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood”.
The Catholic Church continues to teach that the Eucharist is “the source and the summit of
Christian life.” This means that, because Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the
Eucharist, we recognize that all the graces we enjoy as Catholic Christians come from this great
Sacrament, and all that we aspire to, the fullness of the life of God, is contained in this Sacrament.
It is a memory of Jesus’ covenantal love; it is a solemn assurance of Jesus’ abiding, life-giving
presence in our midst; and his ever-forging presence. Therefore we should celebrate Jesus’
presence in a personal, conscious, joyful and spirit-filled way; we should participate in this
Sacrament as a Sacred Meal as in a worthy manner. We must venerate and worship his presence
with all our might; and more important, we should live a Eucharistic life daily with full gratitude
towards the Lord and be in unbroken communion with God and neighbors.
As we see Jesus in today’s Gospel working a marvelous miracle of multiplying the loaves and
feeding the hungry crowd, we discover him today in this Eucharist performing unthinkable
miracles: People who receive his Body and Blood in a worthy manner, are filled with his spiritual
food first; their hunger and thirst are satisfied; secondly he inspires them to place before him
freely, all their talents, treasures and time and any other human natural resources-however limited
and insignificant they are – he makes use of them to feed the hungry, the thirsty and the needy.
Thus miracles of remarkable charities, unimaginable efforts of peace and justice are continued
perpetually. This is the Eucharistic Miracle of the day.
During Mass we enact two acts of Jesus: One, Jesus’ death in which the blood was separated
from the body and secondly His resurrection in which his entire life had been broken and
distributed to the whole humanity. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we got power to be
bound together and power to break and separate even our very life for the sake of our friends and
needy. This is what is happening during Massa and by the Mass. During Mass we are together,
we sing together, we share the body and blood of Jesus from one bread and one cup. As Paul
writes, ‘because the loaf of bread is one, we though many one body, for we all partake of the one
loaf.’ These are done sacramentally and liturgically here.
Added to it, we try to break away from our evil tendencies, habits and acts. We get the power to
be bound together as one family of God. Though it’s hard these days to be together, the
sacrament of the Eucharist offers us sufficient strength to be united. Every segment of humanity
tempts us to be divided, to be cliquish. But the spiritual power of the Body and Blood of Jesus
always triumphs and wins. Also, the world of today never appreciates any sacrificial life. Giving
oneself, or sacrificing something for the sake of others without any reward or compensation is not
in the achievement list of modern mind. But the Eucharist would win and energize people to
Let the Eucharist that we celebrate offer us grace and power, to be bound to our spouses, to our
children, to our friends and enemies, to the poor and the needy and the entire world. Also, let it
bless us with the power and strength to give up ourselves and break our silence, break our
coldness, break our very life and share it with the needy. As we take the break, as we bless it, as
we break it and share it and get the Body and Blood of Jesus into ourselves, let us bless our entire
life, offer it and promise to break it and give it to our spouses, our children, to the poor and the
God bless. Wish you happy Feast of Corpus Christi