Real and alive
The story is told about a little boy who told his mother: “Mom, I have a stomachache.” The mother said: “Maybe your stomach is empty.” Just then, the little boy’s father arrived and said: “I have a headache.” The boy replied, “Maybe your head is empty, Dad!”
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi Sunday. In today’s Gospel, (Mk 14:12-16, 22-26), Jesus offers His own Body and Blood as food and drink for us as a covenant of His unity with us, and as a source of our strength and salvation. Praise God for this tremendous gift to us, as we journey on our earthly pilgrimage.
We need food and sustenance not only for our bodies, but also for our souls. Is your soul “malnourished”? Are you taking enough, or the right food for your spiritual wellbeing? “I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this Bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51).
My fellow pilgrims and I visited the town of Lanciano, Italy, where a Eucharistic miracle happened in the 8th century. The host and wine turned into flesh and blood at the consecration being said by a Basilian monk who had doubts about Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist.
To this very day, the host-flesh and the blood that has coagulated are preserved in a monstrance. Scientific investigations in 1970 and in 1981 showed that the flesh is real human heart tissues, and the blood is human blood, type AB.
We also had the chance to visit Santarém, Portugal, where a Eucharistic miracle occurred in the 13th century. A woman received holy communion but brought the Sacred Host home upon the prodding of a sorcerer, to be used as a love potion for her philandering husband. To her surprise, blood started to drip, and the box where she kept the Sacred Host started to emit a bright light!
The Sacred Host was brought back by the woman and her husband, and, to this very day, it is preserved in a monstrance for veneration behind the church altar.
The Eucharist is a source of refuge and consolation for us tired and weary pilgrims. I experienced this on a very hot day in Rome last May 29, when an elderly pilgrim and I found our way to the Philippine Embassy to the Holy See. No less than Ambassador Grace Relucio-Princesa welcomed us, together with her staff. Yes, we are not alone in our journey, and we are never far from home.
Ambassador Grace shared with us her passion for God, for country and especially for OFWs abroad. She sums up her work as a threefold ministry: ministry of presence, ministry of smile and ministry of good examples. Isn’t that what the Eucharist is all about? May we all be a joyful and inspiring presence wherever we go, whatever we do.
Our Italian guide, Carolina, said that she felt the presence of God through her encounter with us Filipino pilgrims, whom she described as joyful, simple and prayerful, especially as she listened to the many heartfelt and spontaneous stories of realizations, jokes and songs we exchanged as we traveled along by bus.
Yes, may we all make the Eucharist real and alive by our presence, our words, and by our deeds and good examples.
May 31 was the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Mother, who brought so much joy and help to her cousin Elizabeth by her presence and visit. Mama Mary is the living tabernacle of her son Jesus. May we, too, continue to be witnesses and living reminders that God is alive, and he is a living and a joyful God in our midst.
It’s June once more, and Christmas is just six months away. We are a Christmas people who continue to draw strength and hope from our faith and belief that all will be well, and that everything will work out for the good of those who love God.
Yes, our stomachs may be empty at times, and our hands don’t hold aplenty, but our hearts are filled with hope, because of our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who is with us, and who is alive.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help us to become Your real and living presence wherever we are and in whatever we do. Amen.
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