In the Feast of Corpus Christi, which means “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus,” we believe that the person of Christ is fully present in the consecrated bread and wine. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive Christ. We are in co-union with him. This spiritual food enriches us; we become part of his spirit if we are open to it. In essence, we gradually become what we eat.
In our baptism, we became the body of Christ. We share in his joys and sufferings. In today’s gospel, we see two things: The proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the feeding. Because they were in a deserted place and they could not get food, the disciples proposed an immediate solution to Jesus: to send the crowd away before it would be fully dark, so that they could go to village and countryside to find their own food and lodging (9:12). They thought dismissing the crowd to manage their physical needs on their own was the best solution, instead of going through the enormous problems involved in buying and transporting provisions, cooking and distributing food for five thousand (not including women and children; 9:13)!
Instead of escaping from the problem, Jesus asked the disciples to face the problem with these emphatic words: “You give them something to eat” (9:13). They responded by pointing to the inadequacy of their resources: “We have no more than five loaves and two fish” (9:13). Here we notice their tendency to focus on what they did not have, instead of what they had. Their focus was only on the enormous problem and not on any other possibility. Even after observing so many miracles of Jesus in their presence, they could not imagine the possibility of Jesus handling the hunger of the crowd with his power. They doubted his ability to take care of this situation.
What about us? The doubts the disciples had, are the same we have. We always focus on what we don’t have, and we forget to give thanks of what we have. We are all called to build the kingdom of God, even in our inadequacy. In all our small ways, we can make the difference and make this world a better place to live.
When we share the Body and Blood of Christ, our eyes will be opened just like those of Jesus’ disciples who were going to Emmaus. When our eyes are opened, we will be able to see the needs of our suffering brothers and sisters. Let us become what we receive, and that is Jesus. Let our receiving of the Holy Communion transform us, and we in turn transform the world.
Fr. Peter Patrick