As promised here is this Sunday’s Homily.
Several years ago, I shared a story that is purported to be true about NASA, the American Space Agency. NASA did some experimenting with a special type of camera that could see the energy levels in the human body. According to the experimenters, this energy whos up as an aura surrounding the body. Their interest was to investigate the effects of space travel on astronauts while in orbit. Experimenting in a hospital they discovered that when a person is dying the “energy aura” around the body is thinner and it gets thinner and thinner until the person dies. The scientist carrying out this investigation in the hospital and his associate were behind a two-way mirror. At one point, they could see with their camera another man coming into the room, but there was a light coming from his pocket and did something with it. Looking through the camera, the whole room was filled with light and they could no longer see what was happening. They ran to the room to see what was causing so much light to appear in their camera. They discovered that the dying man was being given Holy Communion, and afterwards with their camera they could see that the aura around him was brighter. Although in his fifties, the scientist conducting this experiement changed his career and became a Catholic priest.
The miracle of the loaves and fishes in today’s Gospel directs our attention to the miracle of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus’ miracle is a foretaste of what some of the saints have called the greatest of all miracles, the miracle of the Holy Eucharist.
When Jesus ascended to the Father, it would have been very simple for him merely to leave us with a record of all that he had said and done; however, because of his infinite love, He desired to remain with us. The Holy Eucharist is not merely a symbol, it is a reality. Jesus is truly with us. In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.
We are told in the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to St. John that Jesus spoke to the crowds about eating His body and drinking His blood: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” [Jn 6:54-56] As a result of this saying we are further told that, “many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” [Jn 6:66]
Since God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” [1 Tim 2:4], wouldn’t Jesus have told those who started leaving Him that He was merely speaking in symbolic language? Think about it…they started leaving Him. Surely, Jesus would have stopped them and explained that He was only speaking symbolically about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, and that they were misunderstanding His words. But, He didn’t do this, because He was not speaking symbolically - He was speaking the literal truth abou the Holy Eucharist - that is actually and truly becomes His Body and Blood. And since the truth cannot change, He turned to His apostles and said, "Do you also want to leave?" [Jn 6:67]
May we always answer Jesus with the very same words of St. Peter, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” [Jn 6:68]
God bless and see you next week.