Today, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). In this great feast, we remind ourselves of this great gift that Christ gives us: His Body and Blood, present in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the presence of God among men. Jesus makes Himself present each time the Holy Mass is celebrated.
The first reading from the book of Genesis prefigures the Institution of the Eucharist through the person of Melchizedek who offered bread and wine to bless Abram. The psalm confirms the ministerial priesthood that Christ instituted as we respond: “You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.” (Ps 110). In the second reading, Saint Paul describes the Institution of the Eucharist. The gospel reading for today’s feast speaks to us of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, which is itself a prefiguration too of what Jesus was going to institute at the last supper.
In all these readings, there is one recurring theme: offering / giving. Melchizedek, as a priest of God, offered up bread and wine on behalf of Abram and blessed him. Abram, for his part, gave Melchizedek a share of what he had, not because he had to, but out of his own free-will. Saint Paul, in the second reading, tells us of the offering of Christ to the Father and to all men out of love. He asks all of us to “Do this (the Eucharist) in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24,26). We too are called to offer ourselves, as we “remember” Christ’s offering of Himself, taking place every time we attend the Holy Mass. Jesus, in today’s gospel, tells his disciples to “Give them (the crowds) something to eat” (Lk 9:13). He invites us, his disciples to be ready to offer something to others, to the people who are in need.
The Eucharist not only nourishes our soul, but also, it transforms us into “eucharist” for others. Saint Paul writes to the Romans: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship” (Rom 12:1)
Let ourselves become a gift to God and to all men as we offer the bread and wine at Holy Mass. Let our lives be a thanksgiving to God as is the Eucharist.