|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Jesus took the bread and gave it to his disciples.” We might wonder why Christ chose bread and wine? Bread was the most common ingredient at a meal. It was not the food for the wealthy. It was for the poorest of the poor. In fact, bread and wine were likely at every single meal. They were sustenance food.
Since Christ is the Son of God, why not take something a little bit more dramatic, something harder to come by, such as figs or lobster? Take something that is so incredibly hard to find to say, “Hey, look, I am the Son of God!” But he does not. He takes bread and wine.
Therein lies the message. He takes the ordinary ingredients of daily life and transforms them into his Body and Blood. That is his promise to us: God will take the ordinary events of our daily lives and transform them into something extraordinary. That is what we celebrate each and every Sunday when we come to the table, and, in a special way, this day when we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Therein lies the challenge as well. When we come on Sunday, when we celebrate this bread and this wine that is turned into the Body and Blood of Christ, we are called to partake, but then we are called to become what we receive. We are called to become the Body of Christ broken for others. We are called to become the Blood poured out for others.
We believe that what happens here is real. So, too, in our daily life, we have to believe that God is in the most ordinary circumstances and that he will transform those ordinary events into something extraordinary. This is the challenge.
Some of you here today have just celebrated graduation for your children. It is an exciting time of joy. It is a time of great anticipation for the year ahead. Others have received a job promotion, a new job. You are excited and there is great joy.
But there are others, who have suffered great loss this last week. Some have lost a child. Some are losing friends. It is hard to see where God’s hand is at work in the midst of that loss. In the midst of that darkness, we find it difficult to feel or see God’s presence in our lives.
When we come to this table, we do not celebrate the Body of Christ as an individual. No, it is a communal act for every single person here so that we can help each other because we have become that Body of Christ. We have become that strength for each other to get through those difficult, dark times. It is not just about receiving the Body of Christ for ourselves but also that we become the Body of Christ to others.
When we come to receive, we do so both individually and communally, we are called to become what we receive, the Body of Christ broken for others and the Blood of Christ poured out for others.