ST. MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD CATHOLIC CHURCH

370 East Main Street
PO Box 7
Wytheville, VA 24382
Phone: (276) 228-3104
Fax: (276) 228-3322
officemanager@stmaryswytheville.com

Welcome to the Pastor's Desk

Corpus Christi

There’s an amusing story about a mother who gave a bottle of Coke to her older son. She told him to share it equally with his younger brother. Drinking straight from the bottle, the son emptied all its content.

“Didn’t I tell you to share the bottle equally with your younger brother?”. “Why did you drink it all?”the mother furiously protest.

“Mama,” he replied, “I couldn’t help it because my share was at the bottom.”

We are celebrating today the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ or Corpus Christi in latin. The theme of Corpus Christi Sunday is about sharing and compassion. But this is not the kind of “sharing” shown by the older brother in the story.

There are two messages that we can reflect on in today’s gospel. The first is that of sharing and giving. Someone said: “Those who have much are often greedy; those who have little always share.”

Try to imagine the situation in the gospel, Jesus preaches too long and heals the whole day. The evening comes and the people are tired and hungry. The easiest way to solve this is to dismiss them as the disciples suggest. But Jesus orders His disciples to give them something to eat and a miracle happens. There are two ways on how to interpret this miracle. One is we can see it simply a miracle by itself, in which Jesus created food for this multitude of people. And the other one, according to William Barclay, a known Bible commentator, quoted that what happened is that, the people were hungry and they were selfish. They have food with them but they would not even open it for themselves in case they had to share it with others. Then the twelve apostles laid before them their little provisions and thereupon they were moved to produce theirs and at the end there was more than enough for everyone. So it maybe regarded as a miracle which turned selfish, suspicious folk into generous people, a miracle of Christ’s changing determined self-interest into a willingness to share.

Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD in his book, "Moments", said that in this life there are givers and there are takers. Givers are those who literally sacrifice life . Givers are soldiers who risk their lives defending others. Likewise, givers are our missionary brothers and sisters who have left home, country and family, enduring deprivation, loneliness and even persecution for the sake of the gospel. Givers are the many people who do an honest day’s work so that the family can eat. Givers are everywhere, often unknown and unnoticed. They just give and give; no pretense; just plain and simple giving. In addition, givers are those who give their Time, Talent, and Treasure and even Tears and Talk. There are many this kind of people even in our parish community.

The second message of Corpus Christi and the multiplication of the loaves is not only about feeding the hungry crowd, which satisfy their physical hunger, but also this feast and this gospel points to a greater kind of spiritual food, the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist as taught by Christ was not merely spiritual bread but truly his body and blood. This is also an opportunity for us to seek a better understanding of the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Actually, we cannot live without food. Jesus says the same about the Eucharist in the gospel of St. John: “If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man, you will not have life in yourselves,” (6:53).

Did you notice, Catholic churches always have altar table in them. The altar is always built like a large table and all of us are gathered around it just as the disciples were gathered around Jesus at the Last Supper.

The altar is the center of the sanctuary inside a Catholic Church. Most other Christian churches have no altars. They are just large halls which are used for prayer meetings and sermons. That is why we Catholics must remember that the main reason why we come to Mass on Sundays is not only to attend Mass but to celebrate a Mass with Jesus. We go to Mass not only because we want to hear the Word of God and the sermon of the priest but also that we want to celebrate with Jesus in the Eucharist and go to Communion and receive Jesus in His body.

So when we receive Jesus during communion, try to realize, in a special way, what you receive, that this sacred Host is the living Body of Jesus. It is the same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem. It is the same Jesus who was nailed and died on the cross. It is the same Jesus who rose from the dead.

Let us remember this: as the saying goes “We are what we eat,”. Since we eat the food, the food may become a part of us, a part of our flesh. That’s why, we cannot just receive the Eucharist and remain selfish. If we celebrate the Eucharist with faith, we shall be transformed into what we eat. We shall become Christ-like and be true to our name – ‘Christians.’

At the end , let me give you again another story, it goes this way; it’s about two brothers working together on the family farm. One was married and had a large family. The other was single. At the day’s end, the brothers shared everything equally – harvest and profit.

Then one day, the single brother said to himself, “It’s not right that we should share equally the harvest and the profit. I’m alone and my needs are simple.” So each night, he took a sack of grain from his storage and brought it into his brother’s storage.

Meanwhile, the married brother said to himself, “It’s not right that we should share the harvest and the profit equally. After all, I’m married and I have my wife and children to look after me in years to come. My brother has no one to take care of his future.” So each night he took a sack of grain and dumped it into his single brother’s storage.

Both men were puzzled for years because their supply of grain never lessened(dwindled). Then one dark night the two brothers bumped into each other. Slowly it became clear on them what was happening. They dropped their sacks and embraced each other.

If we had that spirit of compassion not only in the family but also in society, then no one will go hungry and the presence of Christ is experienced.

Lord, help us to be a living Eucharist, with a life filled with sacrifice, compassion and thanksgiving. Amen.