Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ A

You know what is important about this week? That’s right; just six more months until Christmas. Only 182 shopping days left. And this has a little more to do with this great feast of Corpus Christi than you think, for it is in the Christmas story that we have the first hint of the Eucharist.

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is laid in a manger, a feeding trough for the animals. From the first moment of his life, Jesus was represented as food for us, food for all. Luke is indicating that his whole story of Jesus can be understood through the prism of his offering of himself as nourishment, as perfect gift.   I believe the story of Jesus Christ is the story of Eucharist, the giving of himself and the feeding of the world that is hungry for hope, peace, love and salvation.

I believe that Jesus was always aware of this mission and this goal. I believe that as he was preaching as we heard in the Gospel that he was promising a future of abiding with those who love him long beyond the end of his life and his return to the Father. I believe him when he says, “my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” I believe his flesh was meant for the life of the world. I believe that he meant to give everything of himself in this life. I believe that no matter who came to him and what they wanted, Jesus refused no one for that would be incompatible to being flesh and food for the world. I believe that during his life, Jesus was already Eucharist, pouring himself out for all. I believe that this was perfected on a cross because the difference between food and a meal is preparation. It is not a meal; it is not the best possible feast unless the food is offered in a complete and utter way.

I believe with all my heart that he firmly intended to share his actual body and blood with us. I believe we are one with Christ at that moment for “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” I believe he knew of our loneliness, of our way of wandering, and needed to find a way to abide with us and make his presence felt. I believe that the fear and confusion and hurt he saw on the apostle’s faces at the Last Supper would be ours sometime too. I believe he knew his presence could not be restricted to a time and place. I believe he could not allow our hurt to be attended without the same care he gave to his friends that night. I believe the Blessed Sacrament was his solution so that he could be powerfully present in our lives as we was with those who walked and ate with him.

I believe that the only restriction of how powerful this gift can be is our own lack of belief. I believe that there is no symbol that speaks as eloquently as the Eucharist, nor any sign that point so definitively to God. And I believe that it is also real. I believe not because I can explain it. I believe it because I only need to believe Jesus when he said, “Take this all of you and of it for this is my body given up for you.” And, “Take this all of you and drink from it for this is my blood.” I believe that if I can open the door of my belief just a little it will change me. And I can swing that door wide open, I will be transfigured.

I believe that entire communities can be transformed into the body of Christ. That just as Jesus, welcomed, healed and saved, so can we as a parish can be Eucharist – where the lonely find friends gathered around a table of fellowship, where the broken can find a healing balm and the lost can find a home. I believe that Christ-centered communities of thanksgiving and action are the keys for peace in the world. I believe that communities who commit themselves to being Eucharistic start to naturally feel, act, react and love like Christ. I believe we are all the body of Christ and we are to be poured out for each other.  

And I believe that at our best it is like Christmas Day. For our families, friends, community and strangers we are in the manger with arms wide open and extended and love. We are the body of Christ offering ourselves as bread for the world.