At the start of Chapter 9 of St. Luke’s Gospel, the Lord summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and then sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He gave them explicit instructions on the apostolic journey and they set forth from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere. When the apostles returned, they explained to Him what they had done. Then Jesus took them and withdrew in private to a town called Bethsaida. The crowds though knew about this and followed Him.
“Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and He healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached Him and said, “Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”(Gospel Today: Lk. 9: 11b-17)
Obviously, the apostles weren’t prepared for this situation. They thought that since food is barely available than what is needed for everyone, they have to dismiss the crowd considering that the number was big, about five thousand men. The apostles thought that there isn’t enough food for themselves. Yet Jesus said,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
It’s human nature to think first about one’s self for fear that there isn’t enough. In times like this especially for those in mission, it’s easy to limit your thinking to what is in front of you. We hardly take the time to reflect and pray for a resolution to happen or the better thing to do is to discern God’s hand on what action should be taken further. That’s what Jesus did and He has always shown and proven to us that there’s enough for everyone. When we place ourselves under the Lord’s care, there’s no need to worry. Since the time of the Israelites the message of Yahweh has always been “Do not be afraid!” Instead of worrying, when we begin to shred off our selfishness and start thinking of others first, the graces and blessings will overflow. Fr. Armand has said time and again that the path to real happiness is not the one that involves making plans how to become happy, but rather, about how to make others happy. It is only when you make others happy will you start to realize that their happiness become your own source of happiness. The journey to a happy life stems from the attitude of giving ourselves to others.
Our Savior showed it best when He offered Himself as a ransom for many. He suffered and died on the Cross to save us from eternal damnation. Or, have you thought about the food that you ate today? Did you realize that in order for you to enjoy it, the fish, or the farm animal has to die first?
Before Jesus did the ultimate sacrifice He told His disciples,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has Eternal Life, and I will raise him on the last day. For My Flesh is true food, and My Blood is true drink. Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood remains in Me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on Me will have life because of Me.This is the bread that came down from Heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this Bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6: 53-58)
What a beautiful promise for those who partake of His Most Holy Body and Blood! He left us these instructions which we’re honoring today, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. More importantly, He didn’t want to be just a memory, but to remain with us, physically. This is essentially the Catholic teaching of the “Real Presence” of the Lord in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, or “Transubstantiation”.
Today I remember fondly my First Communion after I had my First Confession, many, many years ago when I was still a young boy. For me, that’s one of the most important milestones in my life. It not only allowed me to partake of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist each time during Holy Mass, it also gave me access to God’s overflowing grace. Many miracles have been given to me and my family after spending time with the Lord in the Tabernacle. While I still sin like any ordinary person, I am confident that I am strengthened more and more as I continue to build on my faith. Many years after that First Holy Communion I went on to marry Alma, and I became witness to a woman who slowly became an ardent devotee of the Blessed Sacrament even more than I do. She visits the Tabernacle more often than I am and for that I’m eternally grateful to the Lord for this gift in my family.
How about you? Have you embraced the Holy Eucharist as a means of getting more intimate with Jesus? If Yes, keep it up and I’m sure you will become more rich in your faith. If No, it’s not yet too late, there is still time to nurture the love of Christ. You will never regret it, I guarantee you.
May this Solemnity strengthen our love for Jesus who is waiting for us in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. May we not lose sight of its Eternal Beauty and become more aware of this Treasure who is in our midst.
“I am the living bread that came down from Heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6: 51)