Archbishop Banda’s Homily -Corpus Christi
Today the Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ). In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus gave us His Body as well as His Heart.
As we receive the Body of Christ in Holy Communion, Jesus wants to heal us from
exhaustion: of our hearts in anguish; or grief, or in bitterness or pain. Jesus gives His Heart out to us. May we in turn give our hearts to one another. That is what the Body of Christ is all about. And that is what being the Body of Christ means.
There is a story told: A wise old man once said this about himself. “I was a revolutionary when I was young. And all my prayer to God was: ‘Lord, give me the energy to change the world”. As I approached middle age and I realized that my life was half-gone without
changing a single soul, I changed my prayer. I prayed: “Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come into contact with me. Just my family and friends and I shall be satisfied.
Now that I am old and my days are numbered, I have begun to see how unwise I have beenall along. My prayer now is: “Lord, give me the grace to change myself”. And the old man laments, “If only I had prayed this right from the beginning I would not have wasted my life and my years on something that I have had no control over, – at least I have control
over my life and I can change it”.
There is a big temptation in each and every one of us to change others – be it our family members, friends, companions, those we hang out with, etc. Unless they change and fit
into our framework (our worldview) they risk being thrown out. The same is true in our community and indeed in our society. Take a closer look at the prayers we say during petitions; the conversations we tend to have amongst ourselves; the content of the side
line meetings we hold – it is all about others and not necessarily about ourselves. The quest that others ought to change and not necessarily ourselves is very high in all of us.
This reminds me of an incident in one parish during my pastoral and canonical visitation. At the close of mass, one of our lay faithful said: “Your Grace, your homily was so real. I wished my rival was present, to hear for herself”. This made me wonder, whether people
come to church to pray and reconnect with God or merely to hear on behalf of others. Later alone to wish others to make amends than ourselves. Perhaps this could be the more reason that there seems to be little transformation amongst ourselves. We don’t seem to listen for ourselves and convert but we listen on behalf of others and their need to change. As a result nothing happens with ourselves and later alone others.
It seems to me that we come to church on behalf of others. However the Feast of Corpus Christi, we are celebrating is an invitation to a personal encounter, a personal response to the person of Jesus in the Eucharist. An invitation to a personal transformation into the
image and likeness of Jesus Christ – who left us His everlasting presence.
➢ Jesus Christ, despite being divine, He took up our human nature and lived amongst us. In humility He humbled Himself, suffered, was crucified and died on the Cross. On the third day He rose again from the dead.
➢ In this celebration Jesus invites us to die to self and to rise above our pride andinfidelities; our inconsistencies and contradictions; our insinuations and
innuendoes; our prejudices and intolerance; our envy and jealousy; our malice and hatred. Our Lord invites us to rise above our trivialities of status, colour, race, tribe, gender and the political divide.
Jesus Christ has left us his personal presence in the Eucharistic Meal. So whoever partakes of Him – ought to take up His nature (His Love, His Humility and His self-giving in an everlasting reality). It is said that we become what we eat. Therefore, the Eucharist gives
us an opportunity of a personal transformation, (that personal change) into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ both in our attitude and in our behaviour.
Jesus was filled with the love of God and that is the reason He gave Himself completely in the breaking of bread. Like a servant, He went onto His knees to wash away the feet of His disciples and on the Cross He surrendered Himself for the salvation of all. Today, we celebrate His continuous presence amongst us. We celebrate our life, our spiritual nourishment and our strength on our journey of faith. May the Eucharist we celebrate and venerate sustain us and liberate us from all evil and harm. Amen.