Sermon Notes for Homilists and Religion Teachers.    Embargo:  Catholics are welcome to read after Noon, Sunday



John 6:51-58    20 Sunday (B)  Aug. 20, 2003 


            How can we describe in a twelve minute sermon one of the deepest MYSTERIES of our Catholic Faith? Our topic is the Eucharist: the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood.


When she was eight years old, Heavenly Pearl and her family moved from Jiangmen to Hong Kong.  They lived in Fanling. The family was very poor.  Some of her classmates had beautiful things to play with.  Each day on her way home from school, she passed “Toys ‘R Us” and would look in the window.   There she saw a soft and cuddly stuffed pony.  Although it was impossible, she liked to imagine she owned such a precious toy.  Because the pony has such kind eyes, she named him “Brown Eyes.” One day her Uncle from Canada visited Hong Kong.  He told her:You’re your birthday, I am going to give you the pony that you want. “ Heavenly Pearl was happy with anticipation. But on her birthday there was no present big enough to contain the stuffed pony.  Instead her Uncle gave her a birthday card and invited her to take a drive in New Territories.  They visited a farm.  He said: “I am not giving you a toy pony.  Rather I am giving you a real live pony.  He is yours!” She couldn’t believe her eyes!  She danced with joy and hugged her pony.  She named him “Brown Eyes”..





It was beyond

Heavenly Pearl’s



The example of “Heavenly Pearl’s pony helps us approach the mystery of the Eucharist.



SCRIPTURE: Please look at the last line in today’s gospel. “The bread I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” Whereas the synoptics use the Greek word for body (San T’ai2), John uses the Hebrew word  flesh (yuk6) 2 so that there is no doubt that Jesus is speaking of the Eucharist.  Although everyone might turn away from him, Jesus repeats that he not speaking symbolically when he uses the word “flesh”.  He is speaking of “real” flesh and “real” blood.  We saw last week that in the bible “flesh and blood” meant the whole person.  Jesus says that his “whole person” -- body, soul, human nature, divine nature, the same person that walked the streets of Nazareth and who is now Risen -- becomes our “real food.”


STARTLING TEACHING   The Eucharist is the way the Son of God enters with us human beings into the most

intimate relationship imaginable.


As a result the Eucharist guarantees that we shall share the very life of God for all eternity. 


In his epistle to the Corinthians, Paul has heard of some scandalous behavior.  Paul scolds the Christian who after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, then unites his body with a prostitute. 


In his stern warning, Paul describes for us the mystery of the Eucharistic union. He says that our intimacy with the Risen Lord in the Eucharist is like when Matilda and Belvedere fall in love.  They want to be together. They hold hands.  They tell each other their deepest thoughts and secrets. Their love grows so deep that they commit their whole life together When they marry they are united not only one in mind but in body as well.


Paul’s exact words are: “Do you not see that your bodies are members of Christ? Scripture says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’  But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”


1 Cor: 6: 15-17 “Do you not see that your bodies are members of Christ?  Would you have me take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute? .. 16 Can you not see that the man who joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?  Scripture says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ 17 But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”


But even Paul’s example from marriage falls infinitely short of the union that a Christian has with Christ in the Eucharist.  When he/she receives Holy Communion, the “whole” person of Christ --under the appearance of food-- enters the “whole” person of the Christian.  The whole person of Christ enters the soul and physical body of the Christian. In the simplest of language possible:


A Christian mystery is

A truth that is always Infinitely


than we can imagine.


        “Heavenly Pearl” was able to hug “Brown Eyes” and feel his soft fur.  It is through the eyes of Faith that we Christians at Our Lady of Fatima become able to “hug” the “whole Risen Christ”: body, blood, soul and divinity.  The Sacrament of the Eucharist will always exceed our wildest dreams and imagination.


OUR RESPONSE: When we receive Holy Communion today, we fill our hearts with wonder and gratitude.  During the coming week, we will think often of these intimate moments which we have enjoyed with the Risen Lord this morning.  This experience will certainly affect how we live our lives, share our Faith and bring consolation to the suffering of the people we meet during the coming week?




John 6:51-58    20 Sunday (B)  Aug. 20, 2003


PASTORAL ISSUE:  (Communion ministers in Hong Kong sometimes complain to me that some of those receiving Holy Communion  “seem” to be receiving the Eucharist casually.  The problem seems to be one of an appreciation of key Christian concepts:


Christian mystery,  symbol, efficacious symbol, intimacy with God, Eucharist as a celebration of liberation(Passover)


    Could this ignorance be one of the contributing causes to the vocation crisis in Hong Kong?  After all people get angry and demand what they consider their most precious privileges.


In one word what is the sermon about? Intimacy


THEME:   The Eucharist is the mystery of our intimacy with God.


TEXT:  John 6: 51-58  (verses 55-56:  “For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink.  The man who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.”


CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: #1391 “The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus.”


ILLUSTRATION:  The story of the stuffed horse reminds that the Eucharist exceeds our wildest imagination of the union between God and human beings.




            1Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John(i-xii) (Doubleday, New York, 1966. p. 284-285




(A sermon that is not chewed is wasted.)

John 6:51-58    20 Sunday (B)  Aug. 20, 2003 


1. We used the story of   H________  P_______ and

 “B_____     E______” to help us appreciate that the coming to us of the Risen Lord in Holy Communion exceeds our wildest  i___________n.

2.      St. Paul says that the union of the Christian with Christ in the Eucharist is real and intimate.  He compares this union with that of a loving h_______ and w_______ in the m_________ a___.  (1 Cor 6: 15-17)

3.       The Catechism reminds us that in the Eucharist we receive the b____ and b______, together with the s___ and d______, of our Lord Jesus Christ and therefore the w______  Christ.  (Catholic Catechism: #1374.)


4.      (Optional) If you asked a non-Christian in Wang Tau Homon Cheung Chau whether it was possible to contact God, write down what you think they would answer.  What would be your response?




1 I have consulted Grandmother Kam Po Chue and she told me the story of “Ms Heavenly Pearl and the Stuffed Pony.”  When there is some theological question that I have difficulty explaining, I find that despite being illiterate, Kam Po Chue usually sets me on the right path. Kam Po Chue, Theological Investigations of Grandma Kam (Unpublished).