Homily – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
May 28, 2016
St. Charles, Pennington – 4:00 PM.
Focus: The Lord gives himself for you.
Function: Give yourself to him.
This weekend, we celebrate Memorial Day. Tomorrow, across the country, people will gather in parks and auditoriums to remember and to give thanks for those who have offered their lives in service to our country.
Some gave of themselves to serve and never came home.
Others served and came back with wounds – wounds that have left scars in their bodies, minds, or spirits.
They gave their lives.
We received the freedom we enjoy today.
And so, we give an hour tomorrow to remember their sacrifice.
The time we give tomorrow seems so small and yet it means so much to those who served. By showing up tomorrow, we show that we remember. We express gratitude.
In the first reading, Abram has just returned from a battle. His nephew, Lot was living in Sodom when an enemy attacked. Lot and the people of Sodom, along with all of their goods, were captured by the enemy. Abram learned of this and set out to rescue Lot. He was victorious. Not only did he rescue his nephew from the clutches of the enemy, but he also brought back with Him the spoils of war – the goods that the enemy had captured from Sodom when they captured Lot.
Abram is returning from the battle when the priest Melchizedek meets him. Their caravans are loaded with the spoils of war. Melchizedek blesses God for giving Abram the victory, and he blesses Abram as well.
God gave Abram a great victory.
Abram received Lot and his goods back.
And so, Abram gave God, through the priest, a tenth of everything.
In today’s Gospel, the people are hungry. Jesus desires to satisfy their need. He turns to His disciples: “Give them some food yourselves.”
The disciples give everything they have, but it’s not much.
Jesus receives their meager offering.
Jesus gives his blessing, and thousands are fed.
Today is the feast of “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.” At the last supper, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and said, “Take and eat…This is my body which will be given up for you.” Then he took the chalice: “Take and drink…This is my blood – my blood which will be poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”
On Calvary, Christ held nothing back. He holds nothing back. Christ gives Himself – his very self. He gives everything – all that he is. Body. Blood. Soul. Divinity.
At this altar, we stand at the foot of Calvary and receive the gift he gives. And what does he give?
He gives his life for your life,
his death for your death,
his innocence for your sin.
Christ gives Himself for you. He gives everything for you.
Christ gives his Body and Blood.
We receive the pledge of eternal life.
What are you going to give to him?
Will you give yourself to him?
Will you give him your shame and your sins so that he can bath them in the ocean of his mercy?
Will you give him your hurts and your grudges so that you can be free to love generously?
Will you give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty even as he satisfies your hunger and quenches your thirst in this banquet?
Will you give him your worries and anxieties, your pain and suffering, your sins and failings? Can you give them up to him on the altar of sacrifice as you receive the pledge of your salvation in the simple form of bread and wine, a Body broken and Blood outpoured?
Brothers and sisters, Christ receives what we give to him and he blesses it. He blesses what we offer and multiplies it, making it bear abundant fruit.
He gives Himself for you.
Will you give yourself to Him?