Corpus Christi Sunday, Cycle A
Theme : Are you a mouse or a man?
1st Reading : Deuteronomy 8:2-3.14-16
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 147
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Gospel : John 6:51-58
- Back in my seminary days we were given the example of a mouse who scurries across the altar, takes a consecrated host, runs off, and eats it. We were then asked, “Does the mouse eat the Body of Christ?” The answer is yes! The Eucharist has a reality unto itself. “Does the mouse receive a sacrament?” No, because a mouse has no rational mind. It eats the very Body of Christ, but to no avail, for it has no conscious awareness or appreciation of what (whom) it is eating.
- So, then the question is this: “Are you a mouse or a man?”
- The Scriptures for this feast help us to appreciate the gift of the Eucharist and live it out in the way that truly transforms us.
- Moses in the book of Deuteronomy interprets for the people the meaning of their experience in the wilderness.
- “God has lead you in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what is in your heart…and let you hunger and fed you with manna…that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone but on everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”
- In other words, the exodus was not simply a physical journey into the promised land.
- It was a journey of transform
- A transformation into God’s faithful people.
- Exodus was a journey into authentic discipleship.
- And so, the manna from heaven which they eat, was not so much a magic food as a gift that empowered them to journey into transformation,
- both individually and collectively.
- Their liberation from slavery in Egypt could only be true freedom when: – they allowed God’s ways to become evident in their own lives and relationships.
- In the Gospel, Jesus also speaks of transformation by means of the gift of himself.
- He declares that he is the new Manna that nourishes and gives the fullness of life.
- “I am the living bread which came down from heaven”.
- Thus, Jesus links what happened in the past with what he would accomplish on Calvary.
- Manna in the desert foreshadows the real food of life that Jesus would give to us at the table of the Eucharist.
- Manna was food for the exodus from slavery; but Jesus is the food for the new exodus into freedom, liberation and wholeness.
- There is a real sense that as a people of God, we are also going through a deep, alien and barren desert.
- The words of Moses are particularly poignant to us.
- At this time of National Lockdown, we feel a deep sense of loss.
- If we were to ask “what is the purpose of this pandemic, loss and absence from the community?”, then perhaps Moses’ explanation is still relevant to us.
- Maybe we must empty ourselves of all the things that keep us from hungering for God alone.
- We must be willing to accept for ourselves, the responsibility of growing and nurturing our faith.
- Augustine famously said, “It is no use feeding on Christ with our teeth if we are not feeding on him with our minds.”
- In celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi today, we are called to become the body broken and the blood shed for the life of the world just as Jesus himself was – we are to participate in his life.
- Corpus Christi is about:
- becoming what we eat,
- to be another Christ for the world,
- to be Eucharistic in our self-giving love,
- our reaching out and in our embrace of all people in the manner Jesus showed us.
- I sometimes wonder if we really believe that! Perhaps we put more faith in a couple of panados or disprins than we do in the Eucharist!
- Because when we take the medicine, we expect something to happen, but when we come to Mass and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, perhaps we don’t expect anything to happen –
- For too many, Mass is just a ritual to observe and NEVER to become a part of or involved in!
- They are mice – who run off with the host as quickly as they can!
- If we are unwilling to become a part of our community,
- If we are unwilling to fully participate in our celebration,
- If we are unwilling to empty ourselves of our false gods,
- Then we will only be spectators to the great acts of God!
- Every Eucharist, is an invitation to participate in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus,
- An opportunity to experience transformation!
- It was a journey of transform