The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
May 29, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Gn 14:18-20 / Ps 110 / 1 Cor 11:23-26 / Lk 9:11B-17
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
If you google the words “power foods,” your search engine will give you many choices, like: power food for energy, power food for weight loss, power food for diabetes, power food for men, power food for women, and power food to fuel your workout, to name just a few. Most of these are the same foods that mothers would like their children to eat, like fruits and vegetables.
I remember, during my childhood years, that my mom filled my plate with veggies. I would eat them all and pretend that I liked them, because it made her happy. These healthy foods gave me the nourishment and energy to play sports and do other physical activities.
Yesterday morning, the Holy Name of Mary Men’s Breakfast Group had the privilege of listening to the testimony of our guest, who was just baptized into the Catholic faith seven months ago. During our small group discussion, he told us that, even though he has only been a Catholic for a few months, he had been attending Mass for over seventeen years, just to please his wife and children who are Catholic. By default, he had been nourished spiritually all those years, and this eventually led him to rediscover his faith and his personal relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, we are celebrating the feast of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This is the reason why we come to church on Sundays and other days of the week. We may still have doubts and questions about what we believe, and there may be times that we come to church just to please our loved ones.
A few years ago, a Catholic priest who is a chaplain at Norfolk Naval Base told me a story: that after celebrating Mass on a large navy ship, the captain asked him if he could write a short note to his mother, stating that he had actually attended Mass. The naval officer, in addition to pleasing his mom, received spiritual nourishment from the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist.
In today’s gospel, we have heard St. Luke’s version of the story of the multiplication of the loaves. St. John the Evangelist has given us an extended version of this particular gospel passage, as he also related to us what happened on the following day, after this miracle. When the people found Jesus across the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “You are looking for me, not because you saw miracles, but because you ate all the food that you wanted. Do not work for food that spoils, work for food that gives eternal life, which the Son of man will give you.” When they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always,” Jesus replied, “I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
Jesus’ disciples understood these words when He instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. The Eucharist is, indeed, the ultimate power food. It will not only give us spiritual strength to deal with our day-to-day difficulties, but it will give us the grace to see, with the eyes of our faith, the hope to which we are called. It will enable us to keep on going when the going gets tough, because it strengthens our faith—that with the Lord Jesus, who is always with us and within us, we will be triumphant in all the trials that may come our way.