MANILA, June 4, 2013—As the Church celebrated the solemnity of the body and blood of Christ, a high-ranking official of the Catholic Church urged the faithful to be like the Holy Eucharist in symbolizing God’s love for humanity.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, in his homily during the Corpus Christi mass held at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord in Mandaluyong, called on the people to offer themselves to goodness just like how Jesus offered himself in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist to be eternally present among mankind.
“The Eucharist is a manifestation of the sacrament of God, the eternal love of God,be it shown to us through his Son who remains with us,” he said. “In the Eucharist, the promise of Jesus—that he will be with mankind until the end of the ages—was fulfilled. “
“We are celebrating the love of Christ who gave us his life, and if only we can be like Jesus, we will never go hungry of bread and love,” the archbishop said, noting that selfless offering of the self is the way to achieve satisfaction and contentment.
Offering of the body and blood
He urged people to look at the miracle of love and salvation as manifested by the offering of the body and blood of Christ to people.
“It is not just ordinary bread that will be broken and given. It is not just ordinary wine that will be poured into the cup. It is Jesus for He has nothing to give but Himself. Madaling magbigay ng tinapay, pero iba ang ialay ang sarili,” Tagle said.
He noted the significance of this sacrament in the New Testament wherein Christ sacrificed himself through this offering to “continue celebrating the presence of the Risen Lord in our midst.”
“The promise of Christ is not an empty one, and he holds to it through the Eucharist…Kapag tunay ang pagmamahal, wala itong kamatayan,” Tagle noted.
According to him, it is not enough for people to partake of the Holy Eucharist during masses. What matters is to live by acts of unconditional love, which the Eucharist symbolizes.
“It is not enough that we visit or attend Eucharistic celebrations. We have to become the Eucharist that we celebrate. We have to become like Him. A love that becomes this mission, that is the Eucharist,” he said.
Miracle of 5 loaves, 2 fishes
The prelate also used the parable about the feeding of the 5,000, wherein Christ multiplied five loaves and two fishes to feed thousands, to best explain how goodness could bring change in a society.
Tagle related this in the current situation of the Philippine society and said that poverty “is not rooted to the scarcity of food, but on the type of hands that give them.”
“Kapag ang kaunting biyaya ay dumaan sa mapagpalang kamay, ito ay napagkakasya. But what we have in the Philippines is different. We have 5,000 pieces of bread na hindi makaabot sa limang tao. Bakit? Dahil ito ay dumadaan sa kamay [na kumukuha sa lahat],” the prelate said, noting the perennial problem of corruption haunting the government.
“Yung iba, pag nakatatamasa ng biyaya, kanilang kinukuha ang lahat.Ang iba tuloy, kahit nagugutom na ay hindi pa rin makakuha,” he added.
Furthermore, he noted tragic cases wherein emotional hunger or the lack of love plagues a society, recognizing it as a deeper form of hunger that scars the well-being of a nation.
In the midst of the increasing secularization of the world, the prelate reminded the faithful to be instruments of “love, justice, and truth” for goodness to reign in the society.
“Let us be filled with His love. As the Father sends Him, He also sends us,” he said. “Become what you eat, become what you celebrate.” (Jennifer M. Orillaza)