June 14: Corpus Christi Sunday. Readings: 1. Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16; Psalm: 147B; 2. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Gospel: John 6:51-58.
Each of the readings for this feast helps us focus on the mystery of God’s very special presence with us as we face whatever life may ask of us.
Deuteronomy takes us back to the well-remembered 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. The memory features Israel’s vulnerability as a people needing protection from all sorts of life-threatening dangers. And in that period of their history, hunger is an ever-present reality. So, when God feeds them, he immediately reminds them of the special relationship they share. Thus, the link made between food and life as God’s own people clearly signals that every day is an opportunity to be faithful, give thanks, and honour the One who is the source of all goodness.
The second reading is a classic Pauline utterance. In the space of very few words, Paul zeroes in on the blessedness of sharing the Lord’s Body and Blood. So, the ritual act of taking food and drink in thanksgiving, just as the Lord has commanded, is the one thing that gives superlative witness to our special Christian character. Jesus’ words from John’s Gospel are further testimony to the intimate union that takes on visible shape when people of faith eat the Bread of Life and drink the Lord’s Blood.
The gift that is offered in this act, and then received, welcomes the promise of eternal life. What is expressed in an extraordinary way draws us into the mystery of the risen Christ, making our participation in each and every eucharistic celebration a reminder that we are blessed with the life that satisfies our daily needs.
This feast day is cause for great rejoicing. For belief in the Lord’s presence in the Bread of Life rightly moves us to acknowledge and reflect on what we celebrate as eucharistic people.