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Homily for Corpus Christi Sunday | Fr Filemon dela Cruz, OP

Father Carmelo, brothers and sisters, good morning. Let me start by saying we are Christians. And that means we are a people who is in a relationship with Christ. And you know every relationship is not simple. It is complex. It looks very simple, but it takes time to know. How much more when we are in a relationship with the person of Jesus? How much more when we are talking about our relationship with God?


We can only grasp the person of Jesus little by little, part by part. And one way to do this, and this I always advocate, is to follow the Liturgy of the Church. If you notice, from time to time, we have celebrations from Advent to Christmas, to the Lenten Season to Easter. Every season, every celebration gives us an opportunity to have a glimpse of Jesus, to see one side at another time, to see another side. And even solemn feasts, like, for example, when we remember and celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus, what is it in the Sacred Heart of Jesus that helps us understand Jesus? That makes us remember Jesus in a particular way? And today, we are blessed to celebrate the Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ.


So the celebration gives us a focus, an opportunity to look at Jesus, one aspect of Jesus, maybe one or two aspects of Jesus. And that's what we're going to do. And I would like you to remember three words, perhaps that you have already heard. But an opportunity to revisit it and to reflect.


The first word is communion. Communion. In simple terms, communion is to be one with - to be one with the Lord. And it is not just on our side, our effort gusto natin malapit sa Diyos. Even before you felt that desire to be close to the Lord, ang Diyos na ang naglapit ng kanyang sarili sa atin. It was the Lord who took the initiative to bring himself closer to us, not only the time of the apostles, even today. And that happens to the celebration of the Eucharist. And that happens in a very unique way when the Lord offered Himself as the Bread of Life. And that we always remember every time we consecrate. You find the roots of this, and very significantly, the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. This is just one example, meaning to say one citation, how our belief in the Eucharist came to us.


What did St. Paul say in the second reading? "What I received, I handed on to you." What they have received from the apostles. And that's why in our church, we call ourselves our Apostolic Church because we trace from the time of the apostles what we have received we pass on.


On the night he was betrayed, he took the bread, gave thanks, blessed, broke the bread, and said, "This is my Body. This is for you". Here you can see the desire of the Lord to be one with us, to connect to us. Ang sa atin akala natin tayo nag-iinitiate. It is the Lord who initiated. It is the Lord who even tried to find a way to remain connected with us even in our own time, in a very real way. "This is my body." And he did the same. He did the same with the cup. He took the cup, blessed it, and said, "This is my Blood. This is for you." It is meant to be received. It is meant to be consumed. Kaya nga ang ganda nung pagkakasalarawan because we know that a bread is something that we take, we take into our body. But it's not just our body that is nourished, but even our spirit. God desires to be one with us. And that even goes back to the whole mystery of the incarnation - God becoming man, Emmanuel, he is with us.


I want you to see the consistency of that, That our celebrations in the liturgical calendar are all connected. We were happy to hear, "Emmanuel, God is with us." But it never ended in Christmas. It continues even to the ordinary days of our life, not just on Sunday, even on weekdays, even when there are no feasts. God wants you to be with him. And he finds a way to bring us back to him. Communion.


But it is not just being with Christ. Now, if we go to the Gospel, there seems to be a kind of development. The apostles also develop and struggle in their relationship with Christ. They saw Christ as a teacher; they were asked to teach and preach. They saw Christ as a healer, they were empowered to heal. And they thought that's the only way to go about following Jesus. And so one day, and that is the Gospel today, there was a big crowd. They have preached to them. They have taught them what Jesus taught them. And they thought, "Okay, we're done." It's time for them to go home. This is a big crowd; let them go home and feed themselves.


But when they approached the Lord and said, "Lord, it's getting late." And the Lord said surprisingly, they were not expecting, "Go feed them yourselves." Too much. We only have five loaves and two fish. Sometimes that's our reaction. Our faith is asking too much from us. But actually, that is an invitation. The Lord is still in charge. But that was an invitation for the apostles to take part in every ministry of Jesus. So to be in communion is not simply to enjoy the presence of God. Happy na ako nasa adoration chapel ako, I feel close to God. Relationships has consequences, has responsibilities. And here, we see the apostles being invited not just to be with Jesus but to share more and more in his mission. Kaya yung Eucharist pag iniisip natin this is not just a formula to be one with Jesus. Actually, it is a formula to be like Jesus, that we also become like bread - taken, blessed, broken, and given and shared.


Pag iniisip ninyo, “Fr. pano mangyayari yun?” Well, the clearest example that often I could think of are what parents do. Perhaps parents, you never realize that you're life as parents is like the Eucharist. Taken, consecrated, set apart - a vocation, a submission, and you are slowly broken each day, Hindi broken-hearted. Means to say broken because you are meant to be shared. As parents, you realize that you have more time, not for yourself. More time or most part of your life is given. If we are to be true parents, less on the receiving, more on giving. Minsan yung para sa sarili mo ibibigay mo na lang. You give your mind to understand; you give your resources, your patience, your love, your time. What is that? Slowly, you are broken and given. That is our life. I do not know if you could think of any other meaningful life - that a life that is taken, broken, blessed, and given. And that is why this is a beautiful celebration, also in connection with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To be like Jesus is to reflect the love of the Father.


When we remember somebody, we remember, we try to remember the good thing about that person. I remember my father because he's very thoughtful. I remember my father because he's a very good provider. I remember my father because, you know, he protects us. And when we were young, he brings us to school. We remember. And we we enjoy remembering the good things about the person. Kaya puwede nating pagkabit-kabitin ang ipinagdiriwang natin ngayon - Sacred Heart as reflecting the love of the Father for us, the mercy of God; the Corpus Christi - communion participation and mission; and even including remembering our fathers. Kasi may nabasa ako kahapon, “Please don't forget, be reminded that today is Father's Day.” Don't forget daw sapagkat minsan lang yan because the rest of the year is Mother’s Day.


Kaya ang ganda as we celebrate Father's Day, and to the fathers who are here, you know, how do you want to be remembered? You are a father to your children, but we are children to God the Father. We are, as children, we are invited to reflect, to be an image, a mirror of God's love. And Jesus taught us how to do it - like the Bread of Life—taken, blessed, broken, and shared.


Happy Father's Day. And may we all continue to reflect the image of Christ like the Sacred Heart in the world.


Transcribed by Gel Katalbas

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