Balik-Tanaw | The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

https://sacredheartfla.org/tag/eucharist/

By FR. JOEY GANIO EVANGELISTA, MJ Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4
Malita Tagakaulo Mission

Gn 14:18-20
1 Cor 11:23-26
Lk 9:11b-17

We live in an age where there is a plethora of “truths.” It is an oxymoron but the idea of having an “alternative truth” has become part of human discourse today. This phenomenon is symptomatic of a society where people insist on their right to be heard while denying others that same right. Social media, while providing a platform for the voiceless to be heard, has also become an avenue for people to say whatever they want whenever they want while confusing license with freedom. Zooming out of this current reality, we see a trend where people tend to focus more on themselves: what they think; what they wear; what they eat; the places they go to; the people they are with, and less on others. The overriding message people get today seems to be, “There are many versions of the truth and mine is better!”

The action of God in the history of humanity has always been toward the other. In our Judeo-Christian tradition, this action of God was not just toward the other but toward those in the periphery. God chose the scattered tribes of Israel to become her people. God took the side of slaves over the powerful Egyptians and led them to the promised land. God chose insignificant people to become the parents of the Son of God. Jesus chose fisher folks and sinners to be his disciples. In his ministry, he first went to the sick, the poor, and the sinners to proclaim the kingdom of God. At his resurrection, he chose to show himself first to his women disciples. God chose to go toward others. In the words of Jesus, he had come to serve and not to be served. In the gospel reading today, Jesus shows his disciples and the people who had listened to him that this action of God continues in them even in the midst of scarcity. What is needed is to be open to God and to allow her to move with and in us. This is how five thousand people can be fed with five loaves of bread and two fish. This is what the Eucharist is.

In a world where selfishness is parodied as a higher good, the Eucharist reveals to us that this is a sham. The Eucharist shows us that the real good is to strive to be like Jesus. Like the five loaves and two fish, we are meant to be God’s gifts to be shared to others who have less in the world. We are not an end in ourselves but conduits of God’s grace in order that the world we live in be transformed into a place where God’s goodness reigns in the hearts of people and become the paradigm after which all our social and political relations are patterned. This, too, is the real presence of Christ in the Church.

The Philippine Church today is struggling to find its direction in the tumultuous sea of change. The series of global and local events have battered the shores of our islands like a relentless storm surge: the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Duterte presidency, the recent Philippine elections and the sky rocketing prices of petrol and consumer goods. Resilient as we are as a people, we can only take so much. There are those who are scared and confused like the disciples on the Mount of Olives during the arrest of Jesus. And there is the majority just struggling to make it to the end of each day.

On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Eucharist shows us that the way forward is not to focus on ourselves and on our “truths” but to move toward others, especially those who are in need, as Jesus Christ had shown us in his life, ministry, passion and resurrection. There are no alternative truths and we cannot own the truth. We should, instead, be possessed by the truth. The Eucharist teaches us that a life that is blessed, broken and shared is not only a life that is worth living but, more importantly, a life that is life-giving. This truth of God’s love that we live, celebrate and share in the Eucharist can only be shared to others through a life of selfless service in the way of Jesus with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In these trying times, the Eucharist reminds us that we are meant to live for others and that the way for us to overcome the innumerable crises that we face as individuals and as a nation is to live a life that is blessed, broken and shared. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing, reading, and reflecting on these with the current context (tanaw).

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