From the Catholic Liturgy for Corpus Christi Sunday, June 18, 2017. John 6:51-58. Today’s celebration of Corpus Christi Sunday calls our attention to what is perhaps the most startling yet marvelous of all the biblical teachings of Catholicism: the daily miracle of the changing of bread and wine into the actual Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ! If this sounds incredible and borderline ridiculous to some of you then you are not alone. Did you hear in today’s Gospel how many of those who first heard Jesus teach about it reacted with passion and disgust? “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
You see the problem wasn’t that they misunderstood Jesus. They knew clearly what he was saying. The problem was that they did not have faith in his word. They did not believe in who he was and what he could do. The bread that he planned to give would not be a just a symbol of his Body or a remembrance of his Blood poured out for us. No, it would be the real thing, the real Jesus, 100%. This was too much for many of them and the end of this chapter (which is not read at today’s liturgy) informs us that many of these disciples walked away from Jesus, but that Peter and others remained with him saying, “Lord we believe that you speak words of truth, word of eternal life.” They did not understand, but they trusted. They believed. And so here we are 2,000 years later, just like them.
Let’s ask for the grace to have a stronger and deeper faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. And let’s never forget what Pope Francis says: that Jesus gave us this awesome Gift in order to be the powerful medicine of the sick and nourishment for the weak. Pope Francis warns us not to treat Holy Communion as a prize for the perfect, but to realize that when we receive the Lord with faith in His Real Presence and sorrow for sin and love for Him in our hearts, then he forgives us our everyday sins and walks with us though the ups and downs of our everyday lives.