Reflection on Corpus Christi: 19th June 2022

Christ is the bread, awaiting hunger1

The Eucharist is telling us that God is our food and all we have to do is provide the hunger. We are reminded of the beatitudes where Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor” i.e. ‘those who are beggars for the things of the spirit.’2 “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He also said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

‘Jesus promises that when the hunger arises within us to find our own deepest aliveness within God’s aliveness, it will be satisfied—in fact, the hunger itself is a sign that the bond is already in place. As we enter the path of transformation, the most valuable thing we have working in our favour is our yearning. When we yearn, we come into sympathetic vibration with a deeper heart-knowing. The heart is an organ of alignment; it connects us. Yearning is the vibration of that connectedness. In these beatitudes Jesus is not talking about doing virtuous deeds so we’ll be rewarded later; he is talking about being in connection with our fundamental yearning.’3

‘Most of us feel that we are all on our own. In today’s gospel the disciples wanted to send the people out on their own to take care of their own food. There were only 5 loaves and 2 fish. That wasn’t enough. That’s the natural human response. Jesus’ response was to create a new understanding of abundance, of ‘enoughness’, of more than ‘enoughness’- as we see in the twelve baskets left over. Without the awareness of God’s infinite love we all live in a worldview of scarcity. Jesus is trying to move us to a worldview of abundance. This isn’t just a miracle story. It’s not just bread and fish that are being transformed but hopefully our minds and our hearts. We are not just talking about an abundance of bread and fish, but it’s about an abundant mind, a generous heart.

This is an image of the Eucharist: a meal which takes us out of our tiny world where we never feel that there is enough and gives our lives universal and eternal meaning. Our little tiny lives are connected with something bigger, something that matters, something eternal. Suddenly our ordinary little lives have transcendent and universal meaning. Whether we realise it or not, that is the yearning within each one of us. That is our hunger.’4

Adapted: [1] Saint Augustine [2] Pietro Archiati [3] Cynthia Bourgeault [4] Richard Rohr

Gospel Luke 9:11-17

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

Reflection on Corpus Christi: 23 June 2019

Do this in memory of me

When we read the words in today’s second reading: “Do this in memorial of me”, we may think of a memorial service, something that commemorates a person or an event of the past. We think well of it and then we go on with our lives. In Jewish religion, to do something ‘in memory of’ is to move into deep memory. That is what happens when we pray. Surface memory is where we mainly live our lives consciously remembering the many significant people and events in our lives. If we create our identity, our meaning, our purpose from that tiny memory, we will almost always be unsatisfied. We are never going to be able to feel deep enough, wonderful enough, big enough, connected enough.

Most of us feel that we are all on our own. In today’s gospel the disciples wanted to send the people out on their own to take care of their own food. Jesus’ response was to create a new understanding of connectedness, of abundance, of ‘enoughness’, of more than ‘enoughness’- as we see in the twelve baskets left over. In taking a little bit of food and feeding everybody with it, Jesus is symbolising his invitation to a universal meal, an invitation into a universal community, friendship and unity. This is an image of the Eucharist: a meal which takes us out of our tiny world where we never feel that there is enough and gives our little lives universal and eternal meaning. The Eucharist seeks to connect our joy and suffering with all the joys and suffering since the beginning of time. That’s what it means to do something in deep memory with God. Our circles of connectedness are ever-widening. Our little tiny lives are connected with something bigger, something that matters, something eternal. Suddenly our ordinary little lives have transcendent and universal meaning. Whether we realise it or not, that is the yearning within each one of us.

To eat of the bread and drink of the cup is to consciously acknowledge our oneness, our connectedness to all that was, is and will be. Every true celebration of Eucharist is a deep memory experience of who we are in Christ, in whom we all live and move and have our being.

Adapted from Richard Rohr