From Our Pastor: The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
This weekend is Corpus Christi, which translates to Body of Christ, but is when we celebrate the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It is when we celebrate what we call the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Jesus promised us that He would be with us until the end of time, and in the tabernacles of the world He is with us always.
This passage from Genesis today is where we get the idea of tithing. Why would tithing and the Eucharist be connected? God gives us everything, and we are called to sacrifice the first and best of what He gives us. To give the first and the best means that you must trust that there is more to come. It calls us to see that everything He gives us is total gift and not ours as possession, but ours as stewards of what He gives us. In that call to stewardship, we respond to the abundance and immensity of gifts that God does give us. The greatest of these gifts is the Eucharist, the gift of God’s very own self to feed us and nourish us and unite us. The Eucharist is prefigured here in the offer of the bread and wine by Melchizedek, the priest and king of Salem (Jerusalem). He is offering this sacrifice of bread and wine, in the same place the priests in the temple offered that sacrifice, in the same place that Jesus Christ the eternal high priest, in the line of Melchizedek, offered that sacrifice of bread and wine at the last supper as His body and blood that He pours out during the crucifixion, all in the same place, on the mountain of the Lord in Jerusalem. This prefigurement is profound and rich and is on the monstrance our Church uses for adoration, and that we will use for the procession this Corpus Christi.
This Gospel about the feeding of the multitudes is a prefigurement as well and a model for the Eucharist. We offer the Lord what little we have, but no matter what meager gift we give the Lord, the immensity of what He can do with an honest and true sacrificial gift of all we have and are, is profound. We are called to give that ten percent before we pay any bills or do anything else with it, to respond to the generosity of the Lord. So many people give nothing every Sunday. If everyone gave SOMETHING, ANYTHING, then we could feed so many more, educate so many more, and evangelize so many more, but we can’t until every family sitting in these pews begins to respond to the generosity of the Lord. People think we have immense loads of cash and don’t need them to respond. First off, this isn’t true. But most importantly you’re missing the entire point. We don’t give to a need; we have a need to give as a response to all that God gives to us. The Church feeds and houses and cares for and treats in hospitals and helps the widow and the orphan more than every other institution in the world combined. We are able to do this with the very little that most people give. The average Catholic gives LESS than 1% of their income, when the Lord calls us in Scripture to give 10%. If everyone even gave 1% or 2%, the immensity of work we could do is unfathomable. If we actually tithed as the Lord calls us, we could truly change the world.
If we responded with not only our tithing, but our prayers, our time, and our entire self in gift to the Lord, we would have everything we need to do the work that God calls us to do in this world. So today challenge yourself. Try doubling your gift and see the abundance of the Lord. Try doing an activity in the Church you never have participated in, and see that abundance of the Lord. Try giving of a talent you have that you never have shown in Church or for the Church community, and see the abundance of the Lord. This Corpus Christi Sunday we celebrate the abundance of the Lord in the immensity of HIS gift to us, which is everything, but the greatest of these gifts is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. His complete gift of self to you, the Eucharist. Receive, believe, and respond!
-Rev. Steven Arisman