July 6, 2022

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June 19—Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of ChristReadings: Genesis 14: 18-20; Psalm 110, R. You are a priest for ever in the line of Melchizedek.; 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26; Luke 9: 11b-17
Today’s Gospel gives us the narrative of the multiplication of the loaves and fish in Luke. It is a prefiguring of the Holy Eucharist, the celebration of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
We see Jesus responding to the hungers of the people. They were hungry for his words of preaching. They longed for healing. They were physically hungry.
I would like to invite you to reflect on mission for this Sunday. I will approach it from three perspectives: one, the mission that flows from the Eucharist; two, the mission as defined by Frederick Buechner; three, the mission in the present context of our country and the world.
I offer for your reflection the four moments of the Eucharist that culminate in service: to take, to bless or give thanks, to break or to offer; and to give or to serve.
The taking is the taking stock of our life. The goal of reflection and prayer, or in a deeper sense, of formation, is to reintegrate or to heal and to make whole one’s life. This is the process of self-awareness and self-acceptance that leads to healing and wholeness.
The process of self-awareness, if done well, leads to self-acceptance, which is an acceptance both of our positives and negatives as a person and of the experiences in our life.
This is what Ignatian formation calls a realistic knowledge of self, which leads to, if not presupposes, a sense of healing that leads to wholeness.
The natural response to this experience is a sense of gratitude, to bless or give thanks to a God who loves us in our positives (the gracious and creative love of God) as well as in our negatives (the forgiving and merciful love of God).
Offering oneself in service
The grateful heart offers back, returning love for love to God. To take, to give thanks and now the third moment, to break—a conscious choice to offer oneself.
It is not just a simple offering, but an offering in service to God and to others—to give or to serve.
The process culminates in service, to love and to serve, which now becomes the basis of Christian mission when Jesus says, “Do this in memory of me.” We share in his mission.
Mission or vocation, as defined by Buechner, is the meeting point between our deep gladness and a deep hunger of the world. Where the two meet is where God wants us to be to make our world better, and to love and to serve Him and others as part of our mission.
All mission, from the perspective of our Christian faith, is a sharing in the mission of Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of the mission to love and to serve.
We mentioned above how Jesus fulfilled the hungers of the people—for the word, for healing and for food. It was his deep gladness because it was His father’s will. This gives us food for thought for our third point for reflection.
What is the deep hunger of the people we wish to love and to serve? I think we need to ask this question and reflect on the possible answers.
We ask this within the context or perspective of two important events. On the global level, we need to view this from the perspective of the impact of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. In our country, we have also the pandemic and the recently concluded elections.
Deep hungers
There are many considerations but let us limit our points for consideration.
The pandemic resulted in much suffering, especially for majority of the world and our country’s population. These are the sectors who have limited access to material resources and basic services.
The war in Ukraine highlighted the impending global food crisis. While the factors that led to this crisis preceded the Ukraine war, it has somehow heightened the sense of awareness of this crisis. (Note that there are other economic and geopolitical factors the war highlighted.)
In our country, the recent elections revealed to us hungers of the majority which we need to understand through very serious soul-searching. To deny this or to dismiss the need for this will prove to be “fatal,” especially for our Church.
To a certain extent, there is a need for us to revisit and reflect on our own deep gladness. This process is vis-à-vis our revisiting our previously perceived hunger of the world or the sector we wish to serve.
I purposely will not offer my more detailed thoughts and reflections on this so as not to distract you from going through the process of reflectively revisiting the deep hungers of our world and your deep gladness.
My only prayer is that we—you and I—take this suggestion for a genuine soul-searching to heart. I pray too that we do so individually and communally, in our families and wider communities.
I also go back to our December 2022 (“Simbang Gabi”) reflection framework “to see clearly, choose well and act right.”
We do have a special aid for this, the Holy Eucharist when we are blessed with the grace to take, give thanks, break and give. Our hope lies in building a community where the core orientation is to love and to serve—the blessings of the Eucharist. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

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