Gospel Reflection June 14 – Fr. Morris

Sunday, June 14

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

John 6: 51 – 58


Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Gospel Reflection:

When Catholic priests were finally allowed back into Japan in the 1860s, they discovered to their shock that the Faith had endured in the land– without priests or Mass– since the seventeenth century. Despite Christianity having been criminalized and ardently persecuted, the Kakure Kirishitan, or “hidden Christians,” practiced their faith secretly, transmitting orally essential prayers and Bible passages, and performing lay Baptism.

It has been tough for so many of us to be absent from the Mass during this pandemic, to be removed physically from the Sacred Liturgy. And while as a priest, I am one of the few who HAVE had access to the Eucharist, I have also only been able to impart Holy Communion to a limited number of people: the assisting deacons, and the gravely ill. The nature of the priest’s vocation is that he is used by God to administer the Sacraments. And so part of the priest’s own personal relationship to the Sacraments is bound up in the fact that he is privileged to witnesses the reception of Jesus’ Sacraments by the other members of the Church. As a typical guy, feelings are not easy for me to put into words… but please just know that, while all of you may be disappointed from not having been able to receive the Eucharist, at the same time the clergy are disappointed that they have not been able to distribute the Eucharist to all of you!

When we compare ourselves to the Japanese Catholics who survived for centuries on just the Sacrament of Baptism and the bare prayer essentials of the Faith, we know that what we have had to endure this spring is a relatively brief trial. We will all soon be gathered again at Mass, receiving the Eucharist. But maybe this brief desert sojourn, separated from Jesus Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, will ensure that for the rest of our days, we will not create our own spiritual desert by missing Mass. We will attend Mass not because we have to, but because finally we get to! We will rejoice in the fact that we do not have to live a “hidden Christianity,” we can go to Mass and receive openly Jesus Christ present in the most Blessed Sacrament.

-Fr. Morris