2nd Sunday after Pentecost 10.6.12 The greatest miracle
Today, in the wake of the feast of Corpus Christi, the Gospel parable of the Banquet invites us to further reflection on this great reality of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is the greatest miracle of them all insofar as other miracles are only what God does; while the Eucharist is what He is.
The ease of the miracle may deceive us as to its importance. Most miracles are hard to come by but the miracle of transubstantiation occurs all over the world every few moments.
The fact that it is so common should not devalue it in our eyes. It is vital, if this miracle is to take its full effect, that we maintain a sense of wonder in its presence.
Objectively, Our Lord is present whenever the bread and wine are changed into His body and blood.
Subjectively, His presence will act on us according to how each person responds. Our disposition is everything as we deal with this sacrament.
We need a hunger for this food, for the bread from heaven.
Many would think they have no need of this food because they have enough satisfaction from the earthly pleasures they are pursuing.
For us who do come to Mass regularly there is a danger that we will see the Mass and Holy Communion as just another routine, not really expecting anything to change, either in our own lives or in the world.
But each Mass is a whole new miracle; and each Holy Communion is a new encounter with Our Lord with all sorts of possible effects for the individual receiving Him.
We need to be as engaged as possible in the process, hoping to improve each time our degree of commitment at the Mass and our hunger for the things of heaven in receiving Holy Communion.
God is there on the altar – but are we present in the pews? Many are not here even physically. The rest of us may be present in body but not in mind and heart. We have to make sure we have really turned up before the full power of the eucharistic miracle will take effect in us.
People say that God is remote and silent and that He leaves us to our own devices. But we have His presence close to us, as close as food which can be eaten.
Yet we may not be hungry for that food. Good will follow only if we receive in the right way, interacting with Our Lord, humbly and expectantly.
We cannot be just spectators at a Mass, looking on as though what is happening does not concern us. Although a church might look something like a theatre with the pews being where the ‘crowd’ sits and the sanctuary being where the ‘stage’ is – in fact each member of the ‘crowd’ is a direct participant in the sacrifice and the sacrament; both offering and receiving Our Lord.
What change can we expect from this miracle? Growth in personal qualities such as charity, trust, generosity... a greater faith, a greater hunger for the things of God, leading to further encounters.
Also a greater love for God, appreciating Him for His own sake.
What is the good of adoring the Blessed Sacrament, some will ask. Could we not spend our time better mowing our neighbour’s lawn or otherwise helping someone in need?
If we get in touch with our Father, our Saviour, our God we can still mow the lawn and all the rest, but whatever we do we will do it better; and we will make better decisions in general about how to use our time.
Let the question be: What’s the good of ignoring the Blessed Sacrament, missing the most important thing of all as we chase after less important?
The Eucharist is a mystery; we have to move into it at our own speed, growing in both understanding and love.
Many reject what they do not understand, simply because they do not understand it. We must rather let ourselves be taken up into the Mystery, going through the veil of outward appearances to the great goodness within.