Corpus Christi: The Lord Feeds Us

User’s Guide to the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

A 19th-century fresco, in Pfarrkirche Kaisermühlen, Vienna, shows Jesus giving Communion.
A 19th-century fresco, in Pfarrkirche Kaisermühlen, Vienna, shows Jesus giving Communion. (photo: Renata Sedmakova / Shutterstock)

Sunday, June 19, is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Mass readings: Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:1, 2, 3, 4; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11b-17.

On the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we do well to mediate on the desire of the Lord to feed his people and the shocking indifference many have to this fact. This indifference is not just on the part of those who do not come to Mass; it is also found among those in the pews, many of whom don’t seem to care that so many people no longer attend. We should recognize the passionate concern the Lord has to feed all his people — yes, even your wayward spouse or child.

Let’s consider today’s Gospel in three ways.


Desire That Is Discerned 

Jesus has been teaching the crowds all day by the lake. As the day grows late, the disciples encourage him to dismiss them so they can eat, for they are hungry. And this is the human condition: We are hungry in so many ways. We desire food, drink, life, health, honor, respect, popularity, intimacy, family, security, goodness, beauty, truth, serenity, justice, and so much more. Amidst all this hunger, God is calling us. We are like the woman at the well, who came thirsty for the water of this world but was shown by the Lord that she actually desired him — that only he could satisfy her.


Directive for the Disciples 

Note that the Lord has a deep desire to feed these people. “He said to them, ‘Give them some food yourselves.’” The apostles protest the impracticality of such a thing. They see only five loaves and two fishes — they can’t see Jesus. Yet this is also a picture of many in the Church today, who think that nothing can possibly be done to reverse the cultural decline or bring people back to the Church. They see only our meager five loaves and two fishes and forget that we have Jesus, who is still in the business of working miracles.


Determination to Deliver  

Jesus, “taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied.  And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets” (Luke 9:16-17).

Note well that the Lord is determined to feed these people; and he insists that his disciples help him to do it. They are expected to gather the faithful. Then the Lord blesses and multiplies the food. But once again, he has the disciples help. He gives the food to his apostles, but they set it before the crowd. 

And this is the Church. Jesus is the Great High Priest of every liturgy. It is he who takes our meager offerings and then multiples and transubstantiates them. But he works this ministry through his priests and, in an extended sense, through the whole Church. The Lord feeds his people, but he does so through others. It is the role of the Church to take what Jesus sets before us and then see that it is distributed to others in due season.

On Corpus Christi, please understand that the Lord wants to feed you and your loved ones. 

He wants to do this in order to save you and to satisfy you. Is this a reality for you? Why not ask the Lord to engender within you the same desire that he has to feed others and to make you a magnet to draw people to him? Who are the “50” the Lord has put in your charge? Gather them and have them seated at Mass next Sunday.