Archbishop’s homily from Feast of Corpus Christi Mass

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Archbishop’s homily from Feast of Corpus Christi Mass

June 19 at Mission San Jose

After the liberation from Egypt, all Jewish priests had to be descendants of Aaron. Animals were often offered as victims in religious sacrifices, not the fruit of the earth and work of human hands, such as wine and bread. But Melchizedek’s priesthood is much older. We do not know his origin nor do we know if he had descendants. Melchizedek is a mysterious priest-king. His name means king of justice.

Melchizedek symbolically prefigures Jesus as he blesses Abraham, from whom the people of God was to emerge. When Jesus assumes his rightful role as high priest, he does so in the order of Melchizedek – which has no beginning or end – rather than the Aaronic priesthood. Jesus is true Man, but He is also true God. Through him and in him divinity and humanity are inseparable. He is the New Covenant between God and humanity. He is “priest of God Most High.”

He is beyond comparison. His priesthood is eternal and divine. He is also the sacrificial victim. Jesus is the only mediator between God and man, head of the new People of God: the Church.

In Jeru-salem – Melchizedek’s city – before his Passion and Cross, Jesus feeds the apostles with his own body and blood in the form of bread and wine at the Passover meal, in which a spotless lamb used to be sacrificed. The Father sends his Son to feed his People. Jesus is the Lamb of God who offers himself as a sacrificial victim to feed us with his own life.

Being God, Jesus does not need more than his intention to offer himself up for us. He can use the simplest signs, such as bread and wine, fruit of the earth created by God and product of our own work. Jesus divinizes everything human, especially the love that identifies us with God – who is love – and thus the Holy Spirit leads us to form families and communities. Jesus sanctifies the sacrifices and the work we carry out to meet the needs of others.

By making of our lives a continual sacrifice on behalf of Christ for the good of others, through us He offers Himself to the Father feed the body of his People.

Let us celebrate the gift that God gives us through our fathers. As we celebrate Father’s Day, let us also celebrate the gift that fathers make of themselves, providing for their families, striving to protect them, setting an example, accompanying and demanding with tenderness so that each child gives the best of themselves. Dads, remember Saint Joseph and do your best to imitate him, as he did his best to represent God the Father before the human nature of Jesus.

The Church is really the Body of Christ. Through her the Lord becomes truly present in the world. Jesus himself said: “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18, 20). The visible expression of the Church is the assembly of the faithful gathered to celebrate the Eucharist.

The Lord offers himself to feed us, beginning with the bread of the Word, through which he invites us to share our gifts to feed others in his name. Pope Francis says that a blessing “turns a word into a gift.” In today’s gospel, those gifts are represented by five loaves and two fish. Jesus opens our gifts and multiplies them through his own thanksgiving to the Father.

The bishop or priest who presides over the celebration, does so by participating in the one priesthood of Christ, being part of the Body as its Head. It is Christ who offers himself to the Father for us through the person of the priest in the memorial of his one eternal sacrifice. Thus he nourishes us physically and spiritually with his own Body, his Blood, his Soul and his Divinity, which become really, truly and substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine.

At the end of the gospel story there are twelve baskets full of leftovers. The number twelve represents the twelve tribes that made up the people of Israel.

Nourished by the Body of Christ, which makes us sharers in his own life, we are sent to feed all the people with the same bread. In other words, Jesus sends us to announce to everyone that he is the bread that gives eternal life to everyone who feeds on it. Like him, we must break open, share and distribute the gifts we receive and in this way we will allow our transformation in Him and into Him to go on.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, thank you for giving us your Son, who feeds us with his own Body and makes us one, like He and the Father are One with the Holy Spirit.

Happy Father’s Day!