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  • Writer's pictureChurch of St. Mark

From the Heart of the Shepherd

By Fr. David Hottinger, PES - Pastor


From the bulletin for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Jun 02, 2024)


Corpus Christi 2024


“And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’” (Mk 14:22)


It might be hard for us to appreciate this action of Our Lord. While at table, Jesus turned bread into His body and gave the same to His friends to eat. Let that sink in. 


I don’t think there could be a more arresting expression of the divine love overflowing from the Heart of our Savior. Goodness, say the philosophers, is diffusive of itself. Not only is it good, but it wants others to share that goodness. We participate in that goodness at times. Imagine biting into some delicious new dish while in the company of friends. The next words out of your mouth (perhaps even while it still savors its sampling) may often be “You guys have got to try this!” Goodness is not meant to be kept to itself. 


On such occasions, we experience just the faintest hint of what Our Lord must have in His Divine Heart throughout His entire earthly life: overflowing with infinite Goodness, He would have constantly experienced the piercing desire to share what He is with us, His needy children. Imagine the pain of so many not being interested, or seeking lesser things: to fill their bellies, to merely feed their bodies, to cling to their middling places of power and pride. See Him throughout His ministry so eager to let that goodness flow into whomever was disposed to receive it, and in the measure they were open: His teaching into the ears of His hoards of hearers, His healing power into the crippled and feverish bodies of those with sufficient faith, and His love into all those were attracted to His Person and had sufficient trust to open their hearts before Him like flowers blooming in the light of the Sun. I think of those fortunate children whom Jesus placed His hands upon and blessed (Mt 19:15), or the woman caught in adultery, later caught in the loving gaze of her merciful Savior. 


Yet all that was not nearly enough to satisfy Our Lord’s deep longing to give Himself to us and allow us to share in His goodness. Three years of teaching, healing, exorcism, calling, forgiving, and loving were mere a “sign” (in the words of St. John), or so many appetizers in the feast of Love God had prepared for those who trust Him. 


And so, when the hour had finally arrived for the that supper He had so longed to celebrate with His disciples (Lk 22:15), in which He who had loved so well those who were His was to love them to the extreme (Jn 13:1), Jesus does something that ought to leave us dumbfounded. He devises a way to remain with His Church even as He takes His leave; to be fully present everywhere His disciples are throughout the world; and–most astounding–for His beloved to feed on His Flesh and Blood, making it even their daily bread in the journey of life. 


We know from John 6 that many are shocked and scandalized by the very notion of the Eucharist. Surely, it’s an astounding idea, if rightly understood. But Jesus Himself tells us that those repulsed by this mystery are trying to understand it according to the “flesh” (Jn 6:62-64). That is, they are taking a human measure to a supernatural reality. Those who behold the Eucharist according to the Spirit, and therefore according to the logic of divine, self-effusive love, see that it “just makes sense,” even if they can hardly begin to fathom that rich meaning. “Jesus wants to feed us with His very Self.” Of course! He is Good like that. He wants us to have, experience, be what He is. He wants us to become members of His body, belong to it, delight in It. That is the way He is, and the way He wants us to be, in Him. 


In these days between Corpus Christi, on which we renew and proclaim our faith in the reality of the Eucharist, and the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart this Friday (the feast of self-diffusive Love incarnate in Our Lord’s burning Heart!), let’s beg the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and our hearts so that we might be capacitated to “taste and see the Goodness of the Lord” (Ps 34:8) memorialized and communicated to us in the Most Blessed Sacrament.




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