A year ago, during the Easter Season, the Catholic App for smartphones named “Hallow” launched a special series for its subscribers.  “The Daily Miracle” is a 5-10 minute audio segment that recounts some fantastic stories that are incredibly mind-blowing.  For example, a young girl named Gemma de Giorgi was born in 1939 without pupils in her eyes, making her physically blind.  After the prayers offered by Padre Pio, she was able to see.  Doctors and scientists have continued to examine her eyes throughout her life.  To this day (and I believe she is still alive) – if you met her, you would think she couldn’t see because she still does not have pupils, yet the cure was permanent and complete.

Thanks so much for stopping by to read this homily for the SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST – CORPUS CHRISTI -JUNE 11, 2023.  I appreciate your sharing this on your social media posts and your feedback and comments…  I’m also grateful for all those who’ve asked for the audio version and share them as well at SOUNDCLOUD click HERE or from ITUNES as a podcast HERE.  May the Lord be glorified in your reading and sharing- Father Jim

Or how in Montreal, Canada, in the mid-19th Century, a simple, humble, poor young man with a deep and sincere love for Jesus and St. Joseph entered the religious Congregation of the Holy Cross.  The superiors of the order accepted him as a religious brother, but because of his frail health and lack of formal education assigned him as the doorkeeper for Notre Dame College.  While seemingly a menial task, this allowed him to meet and speak with many students and teachers.  As he did, he would listen to their problems and promised to pray for them, and would encourage them to ask for the intercession of St. Joseph.  Word began to spread that when people would go to Brother Andre asking for his prayers, many would receive a miraculous healing.  That included a 22-year-old named Joseph Jette, who, according to his doctors, was paralyzed for life after falling from a scaffolding.  Joseph recalled meeting Brother Andre, who ordered him to put down his crutches and walk – and when he obeyed, he was cured.  Joseph is one of over 10,000 people who have credited the prayers of St. Andre for their cures (with numbers that continue to this day, some estimating over 125,000 prayers answered at this point).

Or the story of how over 70,000 people in Fatima, Portugal on October 13, 1917 witnessed the “Miracle of the Sun” when the Blessed Mother appeared once again to the three little Children – and the sun seemingly danced in the sky.  Even the most cynical of atheist journalists had to report the reality of what they experienced in newspapers the next day.

It is amazing and challenging listening to these miracle stories.   On the one hand, we can be moved to wonder and awe at the inexplicable.  How the words first spoken by the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “for nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1: 37) continues to be verified as true up to this very day in unexpected ways.  But challenges arise – when we want a particular miracle and don’t seem to get it.  A parishioner once shared at a wake for their relative how they had prayed a St. Jude Novena for a miracle cure and didn’t get it.   As they were explaining, they kind of laughed saying, “I guess I screwed up somewhere along the way in how I prayed the Novena.” When I assured them they hadn’t, the question turned from a laugh to a cry saying “well then why did God take him from me?”

That question gets to the heart of what miracles are all about.  Why do we have miracles in the first place?   Some of the earliest recorded miracles come from the Old Testament.  Some three thousand years ago, our ancestors in the faith, the Jewish People, were enslaved by the Egyptians.  God had raised up a leader, Moses, to deliver them out of this oppression, out of this injustice, into freedom with Moses asking the Pharaoh of Egypt, “Let us go to offer sacrifice to our God.” When Pharaoh refused, that unleashed the ten plagues that we find in the book of Exodus.  We hear the stories, for example, of the Nile turning to blood or the frogs falling from the sky and think those are pretty significant feats, signs, and miracles.

But this wasn’t God showing off, trying to capture people’s attention.  It was upending the pagan deities that the Egyptians had worshiped.  By this point in time, the Egyptians (and some of the Hebrews) had looked to the false pagan god named ‘hapi’ as the supposed great protector of the Nile.  When that majestic river turned to blood at the hands of Moses, and what was a source of life had become a source of sickness and death, it proved not only how futile these idols were but, more importantly were calling the Jews into deeper faith, deeper trust in the Lord God and Him alone.

Despite the ten plagues and the wonders and signs they saw and experienced, the Israelites still struggled with doubts.  When they approach the Red Sea and see that Pharaoh has chased after them, their impulse is to complain to Moses “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?  What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?” And we know what happens, that the Lord God parts the Red Sea, the Jews walk on dry land with the waters like a wall to the right and left of them.  When the Egyptians pursue, the waters are released, and they drown.  THREE DAYS LATER – as they continue further and further from Egypt, as they are now thirsty from their travels, the water they find to is too bitter to drink.  Again they start to complain, and God, through Moses, instantly provides a remedy that makes the water sweet.  It’s this ongoing cycle despite all the wonders that God had accomplished, the Israelites continued to struggle with disobedience and unbelief.  That’s what we pick up on in the first reading today from the book of Deuteronomy.  Moses reminds them that the reason for the delay in going into the “Promised Land” for 40 years was solely the result of their lack of faith.  They wandered in the wilderness because they didn’t believe what God had told them and promised them.

Yet even then, God still provided for them.  Miraculously producing manna – this heavenly bread, and water, gushing forth from a rock as they waited in the desert.  God remained faithful to them even when His people struggled to believe in Him fully.  It’s when the people became single-minded in their belief; when they recognized God’s goodness; when they rejoiced in the blessings and favors they had received; when they were humbled and grateful to acknowledge that their very lives and that they were still existing was in fact a miracle it is then that they were ready to enter into the promised land.

They had to stop looking at God as some genie on-demand who needed to respond to their many requests and instead recognize the awesomeness of His power.  The amazing love He had demonstrated for them and wanting to reciprocate it, as limited as human beings are in ever even trying.  He had been so clear, listen to His word, follow His commands and that would be enough, and He would continue to work wonders with and in and through them.


Centuries later, the Jewish People did not live as the free people God had created and called them to be.   At the time of this Gospel passage that we just proclaimed, the Jews were being oppressed by Rome, and for the most part, were living superficial lives of faith.  Jesus had begun His mission and ministry of proclaiming that in Him, God had now become one of us and with us.  That the Kingdom of God was here in their midst in Jesus.  This passage picks up right after Jesus had been teaching them all these things and had fed the multitudes miraculously from a few loaves and fish.  Once again, God had provided a heavenly remedy to attend to their earthly needs.   After they’ve digested that – and woken up the following day hungry again, they go to Jesus.  But for many of them they simply digested the bread and fish, not the greater reality, the more important message, the true miracle:  Jesus was God Himself in the flesh.   That God had become that intimately close to them.  To drive the exclamation point on this reality,  Jesus launches into this teaching where He reveals that He Himself is the living Bread.  If one wants life, not just survival in this earthly dwelling and physical existence – but eternal life – they need to in fact devour Him.  We need to eat His flesh and drink His blood.

This is the precious gift of the Eucharist that we celebrate in this great feast of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  That you and I experience the most precious of miracles at every single Mass.  Jesus becomes real and present, body, blood, soul, and divinity in the bread and the wine.  Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary and victory of being Risen from the Dead on Easter are made real and present through Jesus’ priesthood.  And He invites us, mere mortals, to take and eat.  On a human level, it’s unfathomable to understand and comprehend truly.

But unfortunately, so many don’t wrestle with this mystery.  Wrestling, naming doubts, bringing them to prayer and reflection are all good things to do, because that at least is engaging God, striving to believe.  Sadly, too many seem indifferent to the miracle we encounter at every Mass.  Maybe its frustration that God hasn’t shown up in the way we want – we have the miracle in mind that hasn’t happened so we ignore the one He offers.  Yet as understandable as it is that we have our prayers, intentions, hopes, and dreams, and God wants us to have those and bring those; ultimately we’re confronted with the same choice our ancestors had when being lead by Moses.  Are we following God or trying to create our own god?  Do we take stock of the many ways from the history of humanity to our own personal stories that all point to the greatness of God, the miracle of life itself, and bring humility and docility to let Him continue to meet us right here… in the humility of the Eucharist.  Seeing how in that Body and Blood given for us, we receive the Crucified and Risen One.  That in our receiving Him, Jesus’ is constantly working new miracles for eternal purposes.

Think about the fact that eventually, the 70,000 people who witnessed the Day the Sun Danced in Fatima, Portugal; the thousands of people who credited their being cured to the prayers of Br. Andre in Montreal; the remarkable healings that astounded those who encountered the love of Christ through Padre Pio – eventually, every one of them would die.  Those miracles were momentary triumphs over momentary trials.  In the Eucharist, Jesus continues to come to me and you so that we begin to experience eternal life with Him right here and now.  But do we see that and desire that?

A few years ago, a Benedictine monk published a journal entitled In Sinu Jesu which recounts in his private prayer how he heard the voice of Jesus speaking to him and mostly to priests about their faith in response to the gift of the Eucharist.  It’s become a favorite of mine that I’ve read multiple times as one can imagine Jesus dialoguing with you.  Asking you probing questions and deeper reflecions.  To close, I want to share this one selection where Jesus speaking about His gift of the Eucharist:

why do they stay away from Me, when I have performed this miracle of love that is My real presence in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in order to be close to them?… why are they obstinate and hard-hearted, wallowing in worldly pleasures and suffering the terrible boredom of those who look to this world and its deceits for the joy that only I can give?  They are like the sick who refuse to see the physician.  They are like the lonely who refuse to open the door to the friend who desires only to visit and comfort them.  They are like the hungry who turn away from the food set before them.  They are like the thirsty who will not drink of the stream that flows, fresh and clean at their very feet… I will pursue them with My merciful love until they surrender to My Heart and allow Me to be their Friend and, the joy of their hearts, the light of their eyes, their physician in sickness, their food, their drink, their shelter and in a word – their all…”