Friday, June 4, 2010

A Meal for Strangers, A Meal that Unites, A Meal for Mission

Corpus Christi Year C

Much has been written and spoken about the Eucharist. Can anything else be said about it? I believe that the three readings of today can still give us some new insights.

In the first reading, we have Melchizedek, a foreigner, extending hospitality to Abraham. Melchizedek is not of the same race as Abraham, neither is he a close acquaintance. Melchizedek is in fact a stranger who goes out of his way and shows unusual hospitality to Abraham. Everytime we celebrate the Mass, Jesus extends hospitality to us. He does not only extend hospitality to those who are considered good and holy but also to strangers, luke-warm Christians, and sinners. The Eucharist is not an exclusive meal confined to only a few select people. We must always remember to extend hospitality to all who come to our Church, because in various ways they are hungering and seeking for meaning to their lives.

In the second reading, we read of St. Paul’s harsh words to the Corinthians. The main problem of the Corinthian church was the existence of factions. There were those who were rich and those who were very poor. There were those who thought themselves holier than others. There were those who were followers of Paul and others who were followers of Apollos. But in the Eucharistic community established by Jesus, there can be no room for factions. All are united in the Body of Christ. That is why St. Paul tells us that every time, we eat this bread and drink this cup, we are “proclaiming Christ’s death.” The Eucharist calls us to die to ourselves – to die to our selfishness, our prejudice, our suspicion of others.

Finally, the gospel tells us that the Eucharist calls us to be involved. There is no room for indifference and pushing the responsibility to others in the Eucharistic community. Jesus challenges us at every Mass – “give them something to eat yourselves.” The Mass does not depend on the priest alone. It depends on every one of you – in the way you participate in the Mass. You cannot complain of receiving nothing during the Mass if you do not take the trouble to contribute something. Each of you can contribute something by preparing yourself well before the Mass, by participating in the singing and the responses, and by listening attentively to the Word of God.

Every Mass is an occasion and an opportunity to extend hospitality to others- especially to strangers, the weak, the elderly, little children and those who seem to be alone. Every Mass is an occasion for us to die to ourselves and to our prejudices. Every Mass is an opportunity for us to participate in the mission of Jesus to establish God’s kingdom on earth. Let us pray during the Mass, for the grace to grow in our hospitality, in our self-denial and finally in our participation in the works of Christ.

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