The Feast of The Body and Blood of Jesus is a Solemnity that speaks to the core of our identity as Church and People of God. As we think of this celebration our thoughts recall the great processions and benedictions liturgies. We used to have 40 hour devotions, and processions throughout the streets. We would carry Jesus for all to see. The incense, the bells the elaborate vestments, all of this set us apart as Catholics.
I recall as a child walking from St. Henry Church down to Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Cleveland. We processed down the street singing songs, the priest carried the blessed sacrament, servers with incense and bells and a elaborate canopy that was carried the we would join the Polish Community for the Benediction. I was a five year old kid kneeling at the communion rail in awe at the splendor of this day.
How can this Feast speak to us today. As a Christian community, the Eucharist, the true and real presence of Christ is the Fount and Summit of our lives. It gives us the ability to be and live as God’s people. For Christ in and through whom we have been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, continues to nourish us and strengthen us by giving us His own Body and Blood as food for our journey.
When the community gathers, prays and celebrates Eucharist through Word and Sacrament Christ is present to us. In the gathered community, the proclamation of the Word, the presence of the presider and in a special way in the Eucharistic bread and wine that has been transformed, Christ is profoundly present and in communion with His people. It is from this encounter and experience of Jesus Christ that we are thrust into the world so that others might be nourished, strengthened and living in communion with God sharing in His divine life.
In the Gospel when the crowd has been listening to Jesus speak and feed them with His Word, the disciples of Jesus tell him to dismiss the people:
“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.”
He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.”
We must be willing to nourish those who are hungry both physically and spiritually. Very much like the disciples we may look at our resources, the little bit that we seemingly have and say, “it isn’t enough, what good is my little bit going to do?” You see no gift is to small, all that is given to us is God’s gift. “They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.”
Watch what Jesus does, He takes the little that they have, directs them to have them sit down in groups of 50, as He blesses it he brings forth an increase. He multiplies what little they have to meet not only the need of the crowd, but he does it in abundance. When we turn over our very selves, all that we have, all that we are and give it to Jesus he will use us for His glory in bringing about something great. You see, we can’t hold on to the little we have, we can’t see ourselves as insignificant, we must trust God in turning it over to Him to use our gifts our little bit for the mighty tasks he has for us.
It is amazing what God is doing in our midst here at St. Joseph. A seemingly small church with little resources look at what God is doing. When there were those who saw the little we have and said we can’t do much. “All we can do is try to take care of our own first.” We saw that not only will we seek to serve our own but at the same time we will use what little we have for those around us. When we step out with what little we have God brings about an abundance. We have been seeing this in a powerful way. It is Christ who brings about the increase. Through our sharing in His Body and Blood, strengthening us for mission, it is then that we can use our little bit and let him bring the increase for the mighty great work he so desires to do in us. Let us respond with enthusiasm and dedication to Jesus challenge, “You give them something to eat your selves.”