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Bring What You Have
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
Jesus spoke to the crowds about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, “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.” They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to Heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you in praise and adoration as I think of your total gift of yourself in your Body and Blood. I thank you that through the Eucharist you unite your people in your visible body on earth, the Church. In faith, I know you are really and truly present in the Eucharist and I thank you that I can encounter you tangibly in Holy Communion and in Eucharistic Adoration. In hope, I know the Eucharist is a hint of the heavenly banquet that you are guiding me to, and I know that your life in me through Communion increases my love for you and others. Lord, in this time of prayer, I ask you to strengthen my faith and hope in and my love for your Real Presence in the Eucharist.
- Corpus Christi: At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “This is my Body.” He didn’t say “This represents my body.” In fact, in the Bread of Life discourse in John 6:55, Jesus said, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” Many of his disciples responded, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” (John 6:61) and then “As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him” (John 6:66). Jesus did not call them back and try to mitigate the impact of his words. Instead, he asked those still with him, “Do you also want to leave?” (John 6:67). He couldn’t have spoken more clearly about the true nature of the Eucharist. But Catholics today still struggle with this truth. A widely reported Pew Research Center study showed that sixty-nine percent of all self-identified U.S. Catholics believe that the bread and wine remain as “symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ,” with only thirty-one percent saying they believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The U.S. Bishops, like Jesus, are continuing to insist on the truth about the Eucharist. You may have heard of their efforts in the “My Flesh for the Life of the World” campaign for a national Eucharistic revival, which is meant to renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. How deep is my belief in and my devotion to Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist?
- Bringing Together Past, Present, and Future: This miracle gave witness to the reality of who Jesus was. He provided for the people abundantly out of almost nothing. In doing so, he brought to mind God providing manna for his people when they hungered in the desert. The miracle also foreshadowed the Eucharist and the heavenly banquet we hope to share in eternity. In all of these, we see that for which Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread…” Christ himself is the Bread of Life and receiving this Bread “increases the communicant’s union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body” (CCC 1416). Do we see the Eucharist as our daily bread? Do we try to attend daily Mass?
- Bring What You Have: Dallas Jenkins, founder of the popular television series The Chosen recounted that this Gospel marked a turning point in his life. His Hollywood movie failed at the box office and effectively ended his career. As he and his wife prayed (and cried), this Scripture came to his wife, and they talked about what it could mean. Later that night, he was on the computer, and he received a message from a friend, “Remember, your job is not to feed the five thousand; it’s only to provide the loaves and fish.” When Dallas asked why he sent that message, the friend said that God told him to. The Chosen grew out of that experience of failure and that message. God wants us to bring the gifts and talents we have, no matter how little and inadequate they seem to us, for him to multiply and distribute as he desires. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “God has called us not to be successful, but to be faithful.” Our fear of failure or overemphasis on success can limit our willingness to give ourselves to God and thus limit his ability to work in us, multiplying our gifts, and through us, to touch and enrich the lives of others. Do we have talents or gifts that we have been unwilling to offer to the Lord? Do we have gifts or abilities that we consider insignificant and so we fail to offer them to the Lord?
Conversing with Christ: Lord, how blessed I am that you make yourself available to me in the gift of the Eucharist. It is the source and summit of Christian life, yet sometimes I can take it–you, your great gift–for granted. As the Eucharist Revival kicks off, stir in my heart a revival of love for you in the Eucharist. Open my mind and heart with awe and gratitude. Strengthen me by this gift to be able to give myself more fully to you, offering the loaves and fish of my life for you to use to build your Kingdom.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make an effort to go to an additional daily Mass or an additional hour of Adoration this week and offer it for all those who doubt the Real Presence.
For Further Reflection: See “Welcome to the National Eucharistic Revival” at https://eucharisticrevival.org/ and consider how you can participate in this revival. Also watch Dallas Jenkins in From Failure to the Chosen.
Janet McLaughlin and her husband, Chris, live on a mountain in rural northeastern Oregon. She puts her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to work as she shares the beauty and importance of the lay vocation in her writing, speaking, and teaching on spiritual topics.