John 6:51-58, Solemnity of Corpus Christi
If you have been following the BBC series Broken, which centres around the life of a Catholic priest in Liverpool, you would have noticed how the story is punctuated with Eucharistic motifs. Though much of Broken shows people in great difficulty, my favourite scenes were those of children, their faces beaming with joy, walking with their parents towards the church to receive first holy communion. In the midst of doubt, a policeman intending to lie in an investigation of the shooting of a young man comes to the Eucharist. Although he has told the priest of his intention to lie, still the priest gives him holy communion. Baffled, he asks the priest why he was given communion, only to be asked his own reason for coming up for communion in the first place. ‘Because I’ve never needed it so much in my life,’ he answered.
Like Broken, our lives are punctuated by our need for the presence of God in our lives, most intimately through the Eucharist. We come to receive holy communion when we feel either joy or sadness, gratitude or thanklessness. However we might come to holy communion, Jesus in the guise of bread is placed on our hands, on our tongues and then becomes part of us. We might find that the broken body of Jesus is close to us in our own brokenness, making us whole, bringing us healing.
As we receive communion, we too are invited to be bread broken for others. Indeed, as the bread is placed on our hands they are consecrated for service. No longer can they be used to injure; our hands are to be used to build up our world and to help one another. As we place the bread on our tongues, we find that it is consecrated as well. No longer should we lie or speak ill; we are to speak words of truth and mercy. As the bread becomes part of us, we might recognise the presence of God deep in us, in our hearts. Our hearts, then, are not for keeping hatred; only love can dwell there.
On this feast of Corpus Christi, how is the Lord inviting you to be bread broken for others?