The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti joined Corpus Christi on its titular feast on Sunday 19th June 2022, for a Solemn Pontifical Mass, followed by a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament around Covent Garden. The Mass closed the London Eucharistic Octave 2022.
Those five thousand people who had felt welcomed by Jesus were probably very happy. They had heard from his mouth words about the kingdom of God, while their sick had been cured. Isn’t this the beginning of eternity? To be with Jesus, to live the experience of the eternal kingdom of love to which we are called, to be freed from diseases, frailties, fears of the soul and body?
But suddenly our harsh daily reality, still pilgrims on earth, takes over: these people are hungry, they must eat.
It is nice that the apostles are aware of this. In fact – what else is asked of the apostles of all times, if not to be aware of the hunger of the people entrusted to them?
But the solution that they propose is not the best: Send them away, Lord, to find food for themselves. It’s like saying: it’s not up to us, there are too many, we can’t do it.
Jesus’ answer is fixed in the minds and hearts of the apostles of all times: You give them something to eat. Do not solve the problem by entrusting them to others or to themselves, as many could get lost, or fall on the street exhausted. That task is yours!
Then Jesus himself takes few loaves and fish, blesses them and gives them to the apostles. And the apostles distribute them to the people.
Yes, dear brothers and sisters, the miracle is done first of all for the apostles who did not believe, who doubted, who wanted to get rid of an impossible task. Jesus seems to be saying to them: Behold, now you have food to distribute. You did not have faith, but I show you how you can feed the people, how you can believe that everything is possible with God. And they all eat, and are satisfied, to the point that there are twelve baskets full of leftovers.
What an overabundance the Lord is capable of offering to our hunger! When material bread is no longer enough, it will be Jesus himself, on the eve of the day before his sacrifice of fidelity to the hunger of the people on a hard and shameful cross, it will be Jesus who distributes, his body and blood to the apostles, anticipation and synthesis of all possible sacrifices.
Today we solemnly celebrate this gesture of love, the death of the Son of God so that humanity is no longer alone to bear the weight of sin and death. We celebrate the divine Eucharist, the supreme consolation of the world, even if often forgotten, ignored, considered a rite foreign to our civilization. Alien! But thousands and thousands of churches were built in our countries just to celebrate the Eucharist. Simple chapels or majestic cathedrals!
Today we will bring the consecrated Bread into our streets, to show the Lord that men and women are still hungry and do not know how to be satisfied. And to show the men and women of our time God’s eternal response: his giving himself up to the end, to the very last drop of his Son’s Blood, for the healing and happiness of his people.
Brothers and sisters, let us welcome this infinite grace! Today is the day of our thanksgiving, of our moved astonishment: Do you really love us so much, Lord? Are you really waiting for us on the altars of our Churches to give yourself to us as food of salvation? Do you really forgive us and welcome us, even if we are sinners, even if we do not fully know what we want, even if we say to follow you and then, like Peter, out of shame, we say three times that we do not know you?
The answer lies in the simplicity of the Lord’s Body that we carry on high for him to see, strengthen, heal, bless all that is human.
And every time we pass in front of a church, particularly in front of this beautiful temple in the heart of the city, dedicated to the Body of the Lord, tortured on the cross in his body and dignity, we thank God for this love of which we are often distracted spectators.
He only asks us for trust, acceptance, abandonment in his hands. But his Body is, at the same time, risen and glorious, and there, next to him, a place is prepared for each of us, made beautiful by the creation and even more by the redemption, by the love of God that keeps us alive, the same love with which even those who do not believe are loved and expected.
Our Eucharistic procession is the sign of our journey to heaven, preceded by Jesus, present and lover in the monstrance we carry. Corpus Christi, true Body of Jesus Christ, God made man, let us not resist being transformed in your image on the way to the Kingdom where there will be no more war, no more sickness, no more sense of our uselessness. The Kingdom where you will be the light which, like blind people, we have groped for all our lives. Christ, who gave yourself with your Body and your Blood, be you the strength that saves us. Amen.