WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Archbishop Richard Smith leads an Indoor Corpus Christi June 7 at St. Joseph's Basilica in Edmonton.
Jesus, who once told his disciples to give the hungry crowd something to eat, is now asking us to feed the hungry a Gospel diet, says Archbishop Richard Smith.
Speaking at the Corpus Christi Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica June 2, the archbishop said many people are hungry for food, love, meaning, purpose, direction and moral compass in our society.
"Jesus says to us as he said to his first disciples, 'You give them something to eat,'" he said. "What we have to offer our society is a diet to which we as Christians have grown accustomed to and find fulfilling – a diet which is the Gospel."
At the centre of our diet is the mystery of the Eucharist, which the Church celebrated in a most solemn way June 2, he said.
Due to heavy rain, the annual Corpus Christi procession was held indoors with the archbishop and his assistants processing the Blessed Sacrament down the aisles of the basilica.
In his homily, Smith said that when we do what Jesus did at the Last Supper, when we take bread and wine and speak the words of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit the bread and the wine are changed into the body and the blood of Christ.
"So when we feed from this table we are receiving Jesus himself in the bread and wine."
This mystery was foreshadowed when Jesus multiplied a few loaves of bread to feed thousands of hungry people. "Now Jesus is giving us himself in the Eucharist. He gives us the food that satisfies, not for a short period of time, but always."
Our diet as Christians is a diet of obedience to God and following Jesus' teaching, the archbishop said.
"Our diet as Christians is one of self-sacrifice, giving ourselves over for the needs of others. Our diet is feeding on the truth and not on falsehoods. This is the diet that we propose our society today."
Recently the archbishop visited a northern community and was presented a diet foreign to him. His stomach recoiled and stepped back and couldn't even taste the uncooked frozen fish and meat.
Modern society, which has grown up on a diet foreign to the Gospel, steps back and recoils when we try to feed it a Gospel diet.
"When we proclaim the Gospel we are met not just with indifference but a negative reaction, sometimes hostile," Smith observed. "It's a diet that many people are unable to eat, to swallow."
However, we have to persist because we know that people around us remain hungry for the truth and nourishment that Jesus alone can give, he said.