Today’s homily is for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, June 19, 2022, and the readings can be found by clicking here.
Happy Father’s Day! As you know, the role of the father is to say what is true–not what is easy to hear, but what is true. The father, by boldly proclaiming that truth places his children on solid ground, on an unshakeable foundation upon which his children build their lives, in security and safety knowing that the ground will not shift beneath them. In that light, today, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi Sunday, begins a three-year National Eucharistic Revival.
Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (JN 6:51) And at the Last Supper, he took bread, gave it to his disciples, “And extending His hand, He gave them the Bread which His right hand had made holy, ‘Take, all of you eat of this; which My word has made holy. Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat, and do not scatter the crumbs; for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it. Take, eat, entertaining no doubt of faith, because this is My Body, and whoever eats it in belief eats in it Fire and Spirit.” That quote is from Deacon St. Ephraim, 350 A.D.
St. Paul, who was not at the last supper, when writing to the Corinthians, tells them, “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” St. Paul wasn’t at the Last Supper, I wasn’t there, you weren’t there, but the Apostles were. And they went to their death boldly proclaiming the truth that under the appearance of ordinary bread and wine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the words of consecration, our Lord comes to us for our salvation. They believed it. So should we.
St. Justin Martyr, around 150AD said, “This food we call Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true. For we do not receive these things as common bread nor common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”
From the Didache “The Teachings” in 100 A.D. we read, “On the Lord’s own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. No one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled.”
St. Ignatius of Antioch, “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead.”c. 90 A.D.
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, “For just as the bread which comes from the earth, having received the invocation of God, is no longer ordinary bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so our bodies, having received the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, because they have the hope of the resurrection.”c. 180 A.D.
St. Cyprian of Carthage, “The priest who imitates that which Christ did, truly takes the place of Christ, and offers there in the Church a true and perfect sacrifice to God the Father.” c. 258 A.D
Deacon St. Athanasius, “You shall see the Levites bringing loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table. So long as the prayers of supplication and entreaties have not been made, there is only bread and wine. But after the great and wonderful prayers have been completed, then the bread has become the Body, and the wine the Blood, of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Sermon to the Newly Baptized” c. 373 A.D.,
St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, “Since then Jesus himself has declared and said of the Bread, “This is My Body,” who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has affirmed and said, “This is My Blood,” who shall ever hesitate, saying that it is not His blood?” and “Do not therefore regard the Bread and Wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Lord’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Judge not the matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith not doubting that you have been made worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” c.348 A.D.
And finally, St. Cyril of Alexandria, “We have been instructed in these matters and filled with an unshakable faith, that that which seems to be bread, is not bread, though it tastes like it, but the Body of Christ, and that which seems to be wine, is not wine, though it too tastes as such, but the Blood of Christ . . . draw inner strength by receiving this bread as spiritual food and your soul will rejoice.” c.444 A.D.
The revival is on. We need to be reconciled to God. We need to be at Mass every Sunday and weekdays, if possible. We need to receive Eucharist. And we need to boldly proclaim to family and friends that here, in this Holy Roman Catholic Church is where our Lord visits daily. That’s unshakeable, solid ground. We need it more than ever. We need Eucharist more than ever. Happy Father’s Day.