God led his chosen people from slavery in Egypt to freedom in their own land. Israel journeyed for 40 years through the desert, and while they were wandering, God gave them water from the rocks, and manna from heaven to eat. In today’s First Reading, we hear Moses tell the people that the food and drink were a sign of God’s power, and of God’s love for them. “Remember – do not forget,” Moses warns the people, and to this day the Jewish people recall how God provided for them in the desert.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he will give them his own body and blood as food and drink. It seems an incredible teaching, and in fact, many of Jesus’ disciples left him after hearing it. But he was teaching them about the Eucharist, in which his body and blood are given to us to eat and drink – living bread for those who believe. Our sharing of the living bread unites us with Christ, and with each other – St Paul says that we become one body, because we share one bread. The Eucharist is the sign and symbol of God’s love for us, his people.
Today, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ, we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist. God does not leave us alone on our journey through life, but provides us with food and drink in the Mass. At the moment, the coronavirus pandemic prevents us from gathering to celebrate Mass, and we cannot receive Holy Communion. But, like the people of Israel, we are called to remember. We are not alone on our journey. We are still united with Christ and with one another, and we will gather again to receive the living bread.