June 18, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
2) 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Gospel: John 6:51-58
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
My grandfather had been away from the church for more than 50 years. I only saw him a handful of times in my life because we always lived on opposite sides of the country.
I have a few memories of him though. When I was 16, he came for a visit, and I shook his hand with a rather limp effort. He looked me in the eye and proceeded to teach me how to shake another man’s hand: with a firm but not too powerful grip. I have put that into practice ever since.
When he was nearing the end of his life, my father went to visit him. In an attempt to help his father come back to the Lord, my father wrote a prayer on a piece of paper and gave it to my grandfather, then my dad came back home.
A few weeks later my grandfather passed away. When my dad went to the funeral, he stopped by the nursing home where my grandfather spent his final days and the nurse gave my dad back the piece of paper that he had given to his dad. The nurse explained that every day my grandfather would read this paper and say, “Dave (my dad) really loved me.”
The nurse went on to explain that after a few weeks of reading this prayer my grandfather asked to see a priest. He gave his first confession in more than 50 years and received Communion. The next day he died. I have always imagined the Lord keeping my grandfather alive long enough for him to come back to him.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” For me, this verse has never been so true as in the life of my grandfather. Jesus offers us his body and blood as a ransom for our body and blood so that we can have eternal live. Though I did not get to know my grandfather very well on this earth, I look forward to having an eternity to catch up with him.
How has the body and blood of Jesus impacted your life? If you know someone who has been away from the church for a long time, what can you do to help him or her come back?