“I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord.” John 6:51
The gift the Church celebrates today on the feast also known as Corpus Christi is an invitation from Our Lord to be living witnesses of his love and compassion.
When Jesus consecrated bread and wine at the Last Supper, he said these gifts, His Body and Blood, would be given up for us—as they were on Good Friday—and that our Eucharistic celebration was to continue in his memory. The gift of faith we received is now ours to give. In word and deed we are called to give our lives, becoming the Living Bread that we consume, that heals our world and welcomes all to salvation in Christ.
When I celebrate Mass and the Eucharist today, I will remember a woman who was an extraordinary example of the Living Bread—someone I will never forget. Her name was Maria Elena Moyano, a devout member of a Christian community in Lima, Peru who died in 1992. When armed guerrillas of the far-left threatened to kill people, Maria Elena organized a brave cadre of women to protect themselves. They started common kitchens and neighborhood cafes so people, especially the children, would not go hungry. They believed in non-violence and led demonstrations in support of social justice and self-government.
The guerillas regarded Maria Elena as a threat. Even with protection, Maria Elena was murdered by guerrillas in front of her family. Her death sparked so much outrage in the community that support for the guerillas began to wane and her resistance movement actually gained strength. Her legacy in Peru is honored to this day. She is an inspiration for Christian communities throughout Latin America, especially those struggling against social injustice and conditions of extreme poverty.
Very few of us are called to live our faith the way Maria Elena did. But each of us is called to become Living Bread with the gifts we do have… kindness, understanding, humility, courage, understanding, and reverence for all life. These are gifts that can transform the world.
Friend, the giving that Christ spoke of at the Last Supper began with the transformation of bread and wine into His Body and Blood. May the giving continue each time we witness our faith and become the Bread of Life for all to see.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Prayer for 1st Sunday
O blessed Bread, broken, and shared
that we might have communion with You,
Lord Jesus Christ. Give us Your strength
and courage to live Your gospel in our lives
and in our world.
O sacred Wine, blessed, and consumed
that we might experience the peace of heaven
here on earth. Fill our souls with the joy of
receiving the Body and Blood of Christ
into our hearts that long for Your love.
May the Blessed Sacraments be forever praised
in all the tabernacles of the world and may
our good words and actions act as a vigil light
to Your abiding presence in all peoples
who claim You as Lord.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso