Thursday, 16 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, also known as Corpus Christi, marking the commemoration of the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. Today we commemorate the Lord truly present in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which we partake and consume during every celebration of the Holy Mass. As Christians, we all firmly believe that the Eucharist we partake and receive in the Holy Mass is none other than the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Himself.

Although the appearance of the bread and wine remains, but the mystery of our faith in what is known as Transubstantiation means that the bread and wine had actually, by the power of God, through the priests, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and the authority given to them by the Lord through His Church, become the very essence, reality and matter of the Lord’s own Body and Blood. We have faith that this is the truth, and what we truly eat and drink is the Lord Himself, Whose Body has been broken for us, and Whose Blood has been shed and poured down to us, to wash us clean and to bring us to salvation and eternal life.

In our first reading today, we heard the account of the encounter between Abraham, the father of the faithful and Melchizedek, the High Priest of Salem and the High Priest of God Most High. In that occasion, Abraham gave offering to God through Melchizedek, who then offered Abraham’s offering to God, as His High Priest. Melchizedek according to Church tradition had always been a rather mysterious figure, but one who was highly respected and regarded, and there were many theories and explanations that some tried to provide with regards to Melchizedek. Some said that Melchizedek prefigured Christ Himself, in His role as the High Priest, just as Melchizedek being a High Priest of God as well.

Regardless what it was, the link between Melchizedek and Christ established Christ as the High Priest of all mankind, Who offered the sacrifice and offering on our behalf, for the absolution of our many sins. And this is where He uniquely offered on our behalf, the perfect and worthy offering, of none other than His own Precious Body and Blood, the only offering that is worthy enough for the atonement and forgiveness of our sins. Hence, Our Lord offered His sacrificial offering both as the High Priest as well as the Paschal Lamb being sacrificed.

In our second reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, we heard the Apostle recounting to the faithful what happened at the night of the Last Supper, when the Lord Instituted the Holy Eucharist, by offering the bread and wine that He had blessed, and gave them to His disciples, saying clearly that the bread was truly His Body, broken and given to them, while the wine was truly His Blood, shed and poured on all the people, to all sinners, for the salvation of souls and for the forgiveness of sins. He instituted the Holy Eucharist to give us all the means by which we can be saved from the darkness of our sins.

At the Last Supper, the Lord began His offering as the New Passover and the New Covenant that He established with all of mankind. He offered His own Precious and Holy Body and Blood because in the past, the offering and sacrifice of even unblemished lamb was not sufficient for the absolution of the whole multitude of mankind’s many sins. At the original Passover in Egypt, which the Israelites henceforth commemorated every year, the Passover lamb was slain and then its blood used to mark the houses of the Israelites, that they might be rescued and freed from the slavery and suffering they endured in Egypt. Thus, in the New Passover that the Lord had brought with Him, He Himself, as the Paschal Lamb, and the High Priest, offer on our behalf, the sacrificial offering to redeem us and free us from the suffering and slavery to our sins.

But that sacrifice and offerings did not end at the Last Supper. On the contrary, everything that happened during the Passion of the Lord, His suffering and journey, the suffering and rejection He endured, and His Way of the Cross, culminating with His death and suffering on the Cross. It was at Good Friday that His sacrifice and offering was completed and made perfect, as He offered His own Body and Blood, the Divine Word Incarnate, as the perfect and unblemished offering that cleansed all the faithful from the taints of sin. Through the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the Lord has given us the assurance and guarantee of salvation and eternal life.

That is what the Lord also meant to do as highlighted in our Gospel passage today, as we heard from that the account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand men with unknown thousands more of women and children with merely five bread and two fishes. He fed them all, and nourished them, giving them the strength to go on, as they were all hungry after following Him and listening to Him for His words and teachings. He then later on would tell them that He is the Bread of Life, the One Who had come into this world to bring life and nourish all of us, with the food that is His Body, and the drink that is His Blood, and as He said it Himself, all of us who share and partake in His Body and Blood shall never die and will have eternal life.

That is because when we eat His Body and drink His Blood, the Lord Himself has come to dwell within us, and He has made us into the Temple of His Holy Presence. As long as He remains in us and we remain in Him, we shall not be lost from Him, and we shall forever enjoy the glorious inheritance and true joy that can come from the Lord alone. The Lord has given His Body and Blood to us freely, and through this act of ultimate love and sacrifice, He has opened for us the gates of Heaven and the path to eternal life. This is what He has promised us and provided for us, and yet, many of us still do not have the firm faith in His providence and love.

Many of us still do not show that we truly believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. We may profess our faith in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, but from the way we behave and respond to the Eucharist more often than not showed just how little we appreciate the Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, and how little the faith and love that we have in Him. We treated the Lord with indifference and even contempt, in the manner how we receive the Holy Eucharist, in our lack of respect for the Holy Mass and the important tenets of our Christian faith, and in not living our lives in accordance to what we have been expected as Christians.

Today, each and every one of us are reminded that we have been so fortunate that the Lord, our most loving Father, Creator and Master, have been so kind, patient and compassionate towards us that He has given us all His Son, to be Our Lord and Saviour, and by Whose sacrifice, both as our High Priest and Paschal Lamb, He has brought unto us the assurance and guarantee of salvation and eternal life, by giving us His own Body and His own Blood, for us to partake, that He may dwell in us, and that we may always be together with Him.

Let us remind ourselves that we are in the Holy Presence of God, that the Lord Himself has dwelled amongst us, and within us. Let us remind ourselves that we have to be worthy of Him, and strive to be better Christians for now on, in honouring and loving the most loving and perfect sacrifice that He has shown us, in bringing about our salvation. Let us all deepen our faith from now on, in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, that what we receive in the Holy Eucharist, is truly real Body and the real Blood of Our Lord, and not just merely bread and wine, or just merely a symbol.

And we have to begin that from ourselves. We have to give due reverence and honour to the Holy Eucharist, in the manner we receive it, such that we ensure that we are in a proper disposition and state of grace, just as St. Paul said that it would be harmful for Christians who are not in the state of grace to partake of the Holy Eucharist. We have to keep in mind that our every actions and deeds reflect our faith and what we believe in, and how can we expect others to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, Transubstantiation and that the Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood of the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, at every celebration of the Holy Mass, if we ourselves have not wholeheartedly believed in it and showed that we truly believe?

May the Lord, Who has given us His own Precious Body and Blood, for our salvation, continue to love us and may He strengthen each and every one of us by His grace and love. May all of us draw ever closer to the Lord and His saving grace, with each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us all and be with all of our works, efforts and good endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 11b-17

At that time, Jesus welcomed the people of Bethsaida, and began speaking about the kingdom of God, curing those who needed healing. The day was drawing to a close, and the Twelve drew near to tell Him, “Send the crowd away, and let them go into the villages and farms around, to find lodging and food, for we are here in a lonely place.”

But Jesus replied, “You yourselves, give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves and two fish. Do You want us to go and buy food for all this crowd?” for there were about five thousand men. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”

So they made all of them sit down. Jesus then took the five loaves and two fish, and, raising His eyes to heaven, pronounced a blessing over them; He broke them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the crowd. They ate and everyone had enough; and when they gathered up what was left, twelve baskets were filled with broken pieces.

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 11 : 23-26

This is the tradition of the Lord that I received and that in my turn I have handed on to you; the Lord Jesus, on the night that He was delivered up, took bread and, after giving thanks, broke it, saying, “This is My Body which is broken for you; do this in memory of Me.”

In the same manner, taking the cup after the supper, He said, “This cup is the new Covenant in My Blood. Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of Me.” So, then, whenever you eat of this bread and drink from this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord until He comes.

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 109 : 1, 2, 3, 4

The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand till I make Your foes Your footstool.”

From Zion the Lord will extend Your mighty sceptre and You will rule in the midst of Your enemies.

Yours is royal dignity from the day You were born in holy majesty. Like dew from the womb of the dawn, I have begotten You.

The Lord has sworn, and He will not take back His word : “You are a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Genesis 14 : 18-20

Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth! And blessed be God Most High Who has delivered your enemies into your hands!”

And Abram gave him a tenth part of everything.

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from the passages of the Scriptures both the works and deeds of the prophet Elijah, who was taken up from Heaven in a flaming chariot, and also the prayer that the Lord Jesus offered to His heavenly Father, the prayer that we now know and call as the Lord’s Prayer, the Pater Noster. Through these readings from the Scriptures, all of us are reminded that as Christians we have to follow the examples shown to us, in remaining connected to God, in being righteous in all of our actions, words and deeds, and to be faithful to God at all times.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Sirach, we heard of the praise that the prophet Sirach spoke with regards to Elijah, one of the most renowned prophets of Israel, who had laboured and worked hard for many years, in serving the Lord and calling on the people of God to turn away from their wicked deeds and ways. Elijah had to go up against the king and those who opposed him and stubbornly refused to listen to him. Yet, he persevered and continued to work hard for the glory of God.

The prophet Elijah continued to labour for the people of God, and eventually, the Lord called him to Heaven, after He had appointed Elisha to be the successor of Elijah for the ministry to the people of Israel. Elijah was taken up in a flaming chariot into Heaven, and while he has been taken up into Heaven, his story, his courage and hardworking efforts remained and had become great sources of inspiration for many people throughout history. There were many other prophets whose lives and dedication to God can also be our inspirations as well.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the story of the Lord Jesus showing His disciples how they ought to pray to God, His heavenly Father. He told them all that they should not pray in the manner that the pagans liked to pray, who often used many words and invocations, and instead, they should pray in the manner that He Himself showed them, praying to the Lord in a truly Christian manner, as we all have been shown and taught how to do through the Church.

In prayer, many of us often made a mistake of not meaning and appreciating what we were saying. Many of us prayed with the prayers common to the Church and yet, not meaning what we said, because we were merely reciting the prayers instead of actually meaning every single words that we utter from our mouths. We were praying more with our mouths and not internalising those words we said, and not linking our mouths with our hearts and minds. This is one of the mistakes that we often made with prayers.

And then, we also often think of prayers as a way for us to get what we wanted and desired. We often think of prayers as means for us to miraculously gain what we hope the Lord would give us, and as such, many of us made such demands with the expectation that God will do something for us. Then, when we do not get what we wanted or if things do not go according to what we wanted it, we ended up getting angry at God, becoming unhappy at Him and even leaving Him behind. If we do get what we wanted, we often forgot about Him afterwards.

No, brothers and sisters in Christ, these are not how we should be praying to God. The true essence of prayer is communication, and it is the way through which we should communicate with the Lord, our God and Father, and how do we do it? A proper communication should involve listening and understanding, and it is very important that we open our hearts and minds to engage in a proper and meaningful conversation with God. We should dedicate time and effort to prayer, whenever we can, and in not demanding God, but rather, to communicate with God and to know His will for us all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to these words from the Scriptures, and based on what we had just discussed earlier on, we are all called and reminded to turn back towards the Lord and to be reconciled with Him. We are all called to follow the good examples of the prophet Elijah, the many other prophets and servants of God, the innumerable saints and martyrs who had spent their lives to glorify God by their actions and deeds. And we also have to deepen our spiritual and prayer life, so that we may come to know the Lord and that we may become ever closer to Him.

Let us all hence seek the Lord with renewed hearts and desires, to love Him and to serve Him at all times. May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey, and may He empower us and encourage us to walk ever more faithfully like that of the prophets and the saints. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 6 : 7-15

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do; for they believe that, the more they say, the more chance they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.”

“This, then, is how you should pray : Our Father in heaven, holy be Your Name, Your kingdom, come, Your will, be done on earth, as in heaven. Give us today, our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are in debt to us.”

“Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you.”

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7

YHVH reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right, are His throne.

Fire goes before Him, burning His foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth watches and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before YHVH, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

Shame on worshippers of idols, on those proud of their worthless images. Let all spirits bow before Him.

Thursday, 16 June 2022 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach 48 : 1-15 (Greek Septuagint – Sirach 48 : 1-14)

Then came the prophet Elijah, like a fire, his words a burning torch. He brought a famine on the people and in his zealous love had them reduced in number. Speaking in the Name of the Lord he closed down the heavens, and on three occasions called down fire.

How marvellous you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! Who could ever boast of being your equal? By the word of the Most High you brought a dead man back to life; you brought kings to destruction and thrust famous men from their beds. You heard a rebuke at Sinai and sentences of punishment at Horeb; you anointed kings to be avengers and prophets to succeed you.

You were taken up by a whirlwind of flames in a chariot drawn by fiery horses. It was written that you should be the one to calm God’s anger in the future, before it broke out in fury, to turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and to restore the tribes of Jacob.

Happy are those who will see you and those who die in love, for we too shall live. Such was Elijah, taken up in a whirlwind, and Elisha was filled with his spirit. During his life no leader could shake him, no one dominated him. Nothing was too difficult for him and even in death his body prophesied. In life he worked wonders, in death his deeds were amazing.

Despite all this, the people were not converted and did not turn away from sin; not until they were deported far from their country and scattered over the earth.