FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI
JOHN 6: 51-58
JUNE 18, 2017
When I was a boy in the Bronx in Catholic elementary school, when the priest came into our classroom we would ask him questions about when the communion bread became the Body of Jesus? What if the priest messed up the Latin words, would it still be Jesus? What if the priest dropped dead before he finished the words, would it be bread or Jesus? And if a person in mortal sin came to receive, would Jesus leave the host that went onto their tongue? We tried to stump Father.
Nowadays there is another way that some of us look at the Eucharist. Bonaventure said that Christ is in all. Christ does not enter creation through Latin words, or special vernacular words. Plus, science is beginning to tell us, with computers, telescopes, that each of us is the universe, that our individual chemistry has what makes up the universe, if you look microscopically deep enough. There is the talk of Holons, and so forth.
With Bonaventure, the Franciscan view, and modern science, when Jesus held up the bread and said, “This is my body,” he was simply saying what is already there. All is Christ. So what is Jesus doing? He is not making the bread his body, it is already that, just as we are, but he is giving it meaning, energy and challenge to all those who dare to eat it. He is saying that he will always be with us, that he is always relational, and that if we eat of this food, then we need to become and act like his words challenge us to do.
He says this bread is his body given up for others. Can that be our body too? Will we give up of ourselves for others in Love. Will we pour ourselves out for others in a bonded way, forgiving others even when they don’t ask for it or change their behavior? Will we see ourselves as one with all creation, rather than better or worse than? Will we selfishly use up creation for our own wants? Will we ultimately be about others, and “follow” Jesus rather than the easier path of Belief?
The question is not when does the communion wafer become Christ. The question is when do we who dare to eat it act like Christ in he world. What has to be changed is us? That is the transformation the world needs.