If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Corpus Christi Year C 2019


 Corpus Christi (C)
(Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26; Luke 9:11-17)

In our first reading from the book of Genesis we heard of Melchizedek, a priest-king of Jerusalem, who, later on in Israel's history, would be described (Ps.110) as the eternal priest of Yahweh.  This great figure, King of Righteousness (as his name declares), priest of Yahweh God Most High, meets Abram and his men as they are returning victorious from battle with Chedorlaomer, the former overlord of the land.  Abram and his 300 strong force of warriors are exhausted after the battle, and Melchizedek comes with bread and wine to refresh them.
Let us just stop here and wonder at the wisdom of our God!  This picture of Melchizedek -- based on ancient traditions going back hundreds of years if not a thousand and more, and then taken up again in Psalm 110 about 400 years before Jesus -- presents us with a King of Righteousness, a priest of God Most High, who comes with bread and wine to meet the battle weary Abraham and his men.  Since Abraham is our father in faith, as St. Paul tells us and as we say in the canon of the Mass, who cannot see that here Melchizedek foreshadows Jesus?  Jesus it is Who comes to meet us, children of Abraham, wearied and wounded in our battle not only with flesh and blood but, much more importantly, with the baleful power of sin in the world; Jesus it is Who comes offering bread and wine which has become His own Body and Blood, the only food fit for the spiritual refreshment and eternal nourishment of all, who, like Abraham, our father in faith, are following God's call to a new and heavenly homeland.
People of God, here we can glimpse something of God’s astounding wisdom and beauty, enough surely to encourage us to whole-heartedly trust Him and joyfully praise His most holy Name!
Next, we are told that:
Melchizedek blessed Abram, with these words: "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.  And blessed be God Most High, Who delivered your enemies into your hand".
With those words we have some indication of the nature and purpose of our Eucharist; and we are helped in such appreciation by taking note of the difference between Jesus’ fulfilment of what Melchizedek had only been able to foreshadow.  Melchizedek was, we are told, a priest of God most High; a very mysterious figure indeed, but one who could not fail to do what all priests of ancient times were appointed and expected to do: bring God’s blessing down upon mankind in need.  Such priests were also meant to be channels for gifts of praise and sacrifice from men to ascend to and be acceptable to God.
When the time of fulfilment came, none could have imagined that the ultimate Priest of God most High would be His very own Son-made-man, with the result that whereas Melchizedek was a merely functional link between God and man, Jesus, on the other hand, is a sublimely Personal link uniting God and man in Himself; and the reciprocal love between Jesus and His Father will always, and in everything, be the originating source and definitive model and fulfilment for every other blessing. 
God’s blessing mediated through Melchizedek:
Blessed be God Most High Who delivered your foes into your hand, 
was a singular blessing for the overthrow of one man’s earthly foes; it would, however, become a universal paeon of praise when mediated through Jesus for the overcoming of Satan’s baleful power of sin and death over all mankind:
            Glory to God in the Highest and peace to His people on earth.
Such is, People of God, Jesus' ultimate purpose present in the Holy Eucharist He has bequeathed us: first, to give glory to His Father and then, to bestow a blessing: peace with God and -- through His Spirit – salvation for His true disciples and all those of good will.
Let us now look more lovingly at the intimate details of Jesus’ giving glory to God His Father and peace to His faithful on earth.
First of all, we must recognize that Jesus alone can glorify His Father; we His disciples can only give glory to God in union with Jesus: by our offering – through the priest celebrating Mass – Jesus Himself in the Eucharist to His Father, and ourselves united with Jesus by our most sincere devotion of mind and heart.  At the priest’s elevation of the Sacred Host he holds up to the Father the Son Who – knowing the Father as He Himself was known and loved by His Father – sacrificed Himself for the  sheep: total sacrifice of Self for love of the Father Whose will He, the Son, knew and willed whole-heartedly to do in all things:
I am the good shepherd; just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I will lay down My life for the sheep.   (John 10:14-15)

Peace to His people on earth: this again Jesus alone can give, in the sense that He alone destroyed Satan’s power of sin and death by His own dying sinless on the Cross and rising bodily from the tomb.  When the priest elevates the Sacred Blood, he offers first of all to the Father in propitiation for our sins:  Jesus’ love and adoration, Jesus’ praise and thanksgiving, Jesus’ faithfulness, trust, and obedience.   And then we, so to speak, come into it for, since Jesus wills to bestow peace on earth though He Personally  is in heaven at the right hand of His Father, therefore He wills to use us -- His professed disciples and members of His Body – as His very Own members on earth to bring about the fulness of His gift of peace to all of good will.  

And that, dear People of God, we do, above all, by living out the one prayer He gave us, that is by humility, ‘forgive us our sins’ and fraternal charity, ‘as we forgive others’, the only conditional petition in Jesus’ prayer!!

Think of the dreadful mess in our world today, and see how much evil is done for revenge, retaliation, satisfaction … Jesus does not pray for the forgiveness of such people; He acknowledges His Father’s truth and righteousness as well as His goodness and mercy, He proclaims His absolute HOLINESS, Glory, and Beauty:

            Father, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Therefore, as disciples of Jesus, our first duty on receiving Communion is to give praise to God the Father Who, through the death and resurrection of His beloved and only-begotten Son, has freed us from the power of sin and death and bestowed upon us His Gift of the Holy Spirit.
And, to help us achieve Jesus' second purpose for our reception of Holy Communion, let us bear in mind the teaching of St. Paul who tells us:
(God) redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:14)
Notice that teaching of St. Paul, People of God: our reception of the Eucharist only bears fruit on the basis of our faith, Jesus' purpose on earth can only come to its fulfilment, through our faith in Him. 
In His feeding of the Five Thousand Jesus insisted that the Apostles share with Himself in the provision of food for so many:
            ‘Give them some food yourselves’, He said.
He still provides food for His People, and His demand for our contribution still remains in force, and the contribution each of us has to bring to the Eucharistic Table is dependent on our faith in Jesus, a faith not to be simply presumed but one to be repeatedly called to mind, renewed, and deepened in humility and love.
Bearing this teaching in mind, we are now able to see the full pattern of our response to Jesus and our rejoicing in the Eucharist today:
God has redeemed us through Christ Jesus; from Whom, by faith and the Eucharist, we receive His promise of the Spirit Who will guide Mother Church into all truth and form all of us, her children, into a true likeness of Jesus for the glory of His Father and the salvation of men.
First of all, therefore, dear People of God, be always prepared and ready to give thanks, glory, praise and honour, to our heavenly Father.  Then, renew your faith in His goodness, power and promise to us in Jesus.  Finally, welcome the Spirit Whom Jesus bestows; for Jesus' own Eucharistic Presence with us passes quickly.  He comes, however, to bestow the Spirit Who wills to abide with us in all the circumstances of life: welcome Both, therefore, open your heart to both Jesus and His Gift, and pray that the Spirit may abide in you and rule in your life so that you may be formed in the likeness of Jesus for the glory of the Father in heaven.
Finally, never forget Mother Church.    As we heard in the Gospel reading:
(Jesus) gave (what He had blessed) to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied.
It is still the same today: we are satisfied with heavenly food at the table set up by Mother Church.  The food is, indeed, from Jesus, but It is given and presented to us, as Jesus willed and established, through the priests of the Church.  Jesus has promised that He will never forget His Church; and so, although children here on earth do easily and all too frequently forget to give thanks to those who are nearest and should be dearest to them, we who, as children of Mother Church are disciples of Jesus, we who aspire to become true children of God, must never fail to thank God for Mother Church, and to ask His continued blessing on her whenever we receive God’s food from her table at her Eucharistic sacrifice.