Journey to a Lonely Place
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ first started in the Diocese of Liege (Belgium) in 1246. It was promoted by Bishop Robert de Torote who was persuaded by Saint Juliana, prioress of Mont Cornillon near Liège. Saint Juliana had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. It is said that she had many visitations from the Lord asking her to promote a devotion to His true presence in the Eucharist. Later, in 1264, Pope Urban IV, decreed that the whole church will observe this feast as one of the principle feasts of the Church.
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is contemplated in this Sunday’s liturgy through the miracle of the multiplication of loaves. Surprisingly, we do not have the famous “last supper” narration or the “I am the bread” discourse. What significance can we draw in today’s feast or to the Eucharist from the multiplication of loaves?
If we read this passage in the light of the Eucharist, we will be able to recognize the deeper meaning of sharing. “Sharing” is supposed to be the heart of every Eucharistic celebration. Within the miracle the Eucharist is a call to “go to a lonely place” (Lk 9:12). People should have the courage to leave behind their comfort zones; keep aside their own relations, family and friends and to mingle with complete strangers. This is the experience of entering a lonely place which may make us realize the needs of other people.
Journey to a lonely place is a starting phase of the Eucharist. The next step is accepting the command of the Lord, “give them something to eat yourselves” (Lk 9:14). Here we give ourselves for all. Jesus knew that only through His power, the disciples could give something for the people to eat. Through offering ourselves for others we give Jesus to the world. It is Jesus who is shared in us when we break ourselves to reach others.
Christ’s Body is broken and His Blood is shed whenever we commemorate the Eucharist and whenever we live the Eucharistic life thereafter.
–Fr. Ranjan D’Sa, OCD