Sunday, June 11, 2023

Never To Let Us Go

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (A)

Readings: Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 14-16; Psalm 147: 12-15, 19-20; 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17; John 6:51-58

Picture: Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Well, you only need the light when it's burning low,

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow,

Only know you love her when you let her go…

And you let her go…

My dear friends, do these lines sound familiar? They're from a song by the English singer-songwriter, Passenger. They speak of a man’s regret at having taken his lover for granted, at realising what she really means to him, only after she’s gone. Released in 2012, the song eventually topped the charts in many countries around the world. Perhaps a sign that many of us know what it feels like to forget to cherish the people we love… until it’s too late. Sadly, this tendency to take love for granted often extends beyond the people in our lives, to include even the God who keeps us all alive.

Isn’t this why, in the first reading, Moses anxiously tells the Israelites to remember how God had led them for forty years in the wilderness to humble them, to make them understand that man lives on everything that comes from the mouth of the Lord? Moses has good reason to worry. For the Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land, a place where milk and honey flow. It had been difficult enough for them to obey God in the wilderness, where they were often hungry. What more in a land of plenty, when their bellies will be full?

Well, we all know the story, right? We know that the people did, indeed, forsake God. But the good news is that despite their forgetfulness of God, God refused to forget them. Again and again, God sent prophets to remind them of their need for God. And when they rejected these, God even sent God’s only Son. And when he too was persecuted and put to death, God not only raised him to life, but also made him forever present and accessible to God’s people–to all of us–especially in the celebration of the Eucharist.

As the second reading reminds us, the blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. By partaking in the Eucharist, we draw life from Christ, just as he draws life from the Father. Enabling us to become part of the corpus christi, the body of Christ, here on earth. Giving us power to live as he lived, and to love as he loved.

Isn’t this what we are celebrating today? Not some obnoxious obligation to drag ourselves out of bed on a sleepy Sunday morning, but a powerful expression of a love that refuses to let us go. Which brings to mind these words from another song. A song not of regret, but of wonder and praise, of gratitude and hope…

Could the Lord ever leave you?

Could the Lord forget his love?

Though a mother forsake her child,

He will not abandon you…

Sisters and brothers, the Eucharist is a precious gift from a Lord who refuses to let us go. What must we do to keep clinging ever more tightly to him, today and everyday?

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