The Holy Longing
With all our hearts, minds, and souls let us bow in humble adoration to the Lord for His special gifts and endowments. Particularly, for the gift of His divine nature and persons – the Most Holy Trinity which we celebrated last Sunday and today we celebrate another powerful manifestation of His works, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. To this end, it is truth par excellence that “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Does this not explain clearly why “Man does not live by bread alone, but that man live by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD”? (Dt. 8:3).
The celebration of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ affords us the opportunity to recall the fact that “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings … on a human journey (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.). Our spiritual aspect is the fire, energy, force or desire that pushes us within and without to do something. It is the centre piece of our thinking (Rolheiser, 2014). In a sense, everybody is spiritual because we are all from God who is Spirit and life (John 4:23). Scripture says that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). It is the breath of life from God that makes us spiritual beings. This breath in us is a longing for something, a fire, an energy, a force, or a desire that propels us to act. Now what we do with our longing defines our spirituality. For our spirituality is how we channel our longing or desire within us. Some channel theirs to God, some to sex, money, drugs, violence, terrorism, and so forth. It is this fire or unrest that led St. Augustine to aver: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” For us children of God, it is taken for granted that we have known God and we have a longing for Him. However, we need to examine whether our longing is holy because it may be serving other unholy purposes that do not glorify God, edify our neighbour and sustain our well-being. What have you to say about somebody who longs or craves for sex, drugs, money, power, and work, just to mention a few.
In the spirit of our celebration, the expression: “Man does not live by bread alone, but that man live by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD” speaks of the truth that we need to remember and satisfy our hunger for God, our hunger for our spiritual life and needs. Note, God has created us for Himself and implanted in us the craving for Himself. Therefore, His Son reminds us by saying: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). We bless God for giving us the privilege to hunger for Him, otherwise we would hunger more for sex, drugs, money, work, power and violence, or some other inclinations that may culminate in addiction. We have said there is a longing in us, a fire and an energy; a search either for God or something else. The Lord Himself has provided the antidote to satisfy our hunger and thirst and that is His Most Holy Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist which we should dispose ourselves and commune with Him and enjoy solidarity with the universal Church of God. What is your longing for the Holy Eucharist? How often do you receive Holy Communion? I wish you a fruitful solemnity of the Corpus Christi!
Fr. John-Mary Atep.