First Reading: Deuteronomy 8.2 – 3, 14 – 16
Responsorial Psalm: 147
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 16 – 17
Gospel: John 6. 51 – 59
Sitting together for a meal can generate a special feeling of togetherness. Each of us will
have our own memories of table companionship or fellowship. Many of these will be
happy experiences of celebration and laughter, of love received and shared. Some
memories of table fellowship may be sad, times when we were more aware of one who
was absent than of those who were present. Jesus shared table many times with his
disciples. It is likely that, when sharing food with his disciples, he also shared with them
his vision of God’s kingdom . At table, the disciples imbibed something of Jesus’ mind and
heart and spirit. Of all the meals he shared with them, the meal that stayed in their
memory more than any other was their last meal together, what came to be known as the
last supper. Today’s gospel gives us Mark’s account, his word-picture, of that last supper.
This last meal Jesus shared with his disciples stood out in their memory, capturing the
imagination of generations of disciples right up to ourselves. He did more than share his
vision with the disciples; he gave them himself in a way he had never done before, and in
a way that anticipated the death he would die for them and for all, on the following day.
In giving himself in the form of the bread and wine of the meal, he was declaring himself
to be their food and drink. In calling on them to take and eat, to take and drink, he was
asking them to take their stand with him, to give themselves to him as he was giving
himself to them.
It was because of that supper and of what went on there that we are here in this church
today. Jesus intended his last supper to be a beginning rather than an end. It was the first
Eucharist. Ever since that meal, the church has gathered regularly in his name, to do and

say what he did and said at that last supper — taking bread and wine, blessing both,
breaking the bread and giving both for disciples to eat and drink.
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 the ground.
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 or 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.

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 Jesus 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 sacrifice.
Jesus continues to give himself as food and drink to his followers. He also continues to put
it up to his followers to take their stand with him, to take in all he stands for, living by his
values, walking in his way, even if that means the cross. Whenever we come to Mass and
receive the Eucharist, we are making a number of important statements. We are
acknowledging Jesus as our bread of life, as the one who alone can satisfy our deepest
hungers. We are also declaring that we will throw in our lot with him, as it were, that we
will follow in his way and be faithful to him all our lives, in response to his faithfulness to
us. In that sense, celebrating the Eucharist is not something we do lightly. Our familiarity

with the Mass and the frequency with which we celebrate it can dull our senses to the full
significance of what we are doing. Every time we gather for the Eucharist, we find
ourselves once more in that upper room with the first disciples, and the last supper with
all it signified is present again to us.

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 needy.
God bless. Wish you happy Feast of Corpus Christi