Sunday, June 14, 2009

Body and Blood of Jesus Christ: Corpus Christi

Let us consider the last two weeks or the last month of our lives. What would you consider your most significant moment or events of that time period? Yesterday, at St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill there was a funeral. A man of some fifty years had died. He left the request that his funeral be celebrated at the church he had known as a young boy, an altar server. A large number of his friends and classmates from his early years at St. Joseph's School -- when it existed -- gathered. Several men commented how important and significant it was for them to be gathered together. Two weeks ago, I celebrated with my high school classmates. We had graduated 50 years ago. I will not forget the reunion with a fellow that was my trolley car and later auto companion on our daily ventures to Gonzaga High School. And just two evenings ago I rejoined with the Jesuits who entered the Society of Jesus 50 years ago. Both events we significant moments I know I will not forget for the remainder of my life: "Remember the time we got together for our fiftieth???"

It is an interesting venture to walk through the halls of the Capitol Building not as a tourist but as an observer of humanity, being attentive to the expressions one easily overhears from the younger tourists. Excitement abounds when a Senator or Member of Congress passes by and says hello to them. "He shook my hand!" Earlier this Spring, I had to smile as I listened in Union Station to a group of young ladies, obviously on their Senior trip to DC. Apparently they had been somewhere in the city when President Obama was driven by where they were standing. "He waved at me. Did you see that?" There journey to Washington will always be remembered by that moment.

Several days ago, while having lunch in the Dirksen Senate Office Building dining room, I watched as former Senator Trent Lott walked through. The adults were no different than the younger Seniors! "I finally got to meet someone who is famous," I overheard.

So, let me ask a question or two. Did anyone include in the list of important moments or events of the last two weeks or month this kind of statement: "I received Jesus Christ in the Eucharist at Mass last Sunday"? What is your reaction to this statement? Quite honestly, I would wager this: few, if any, thought about that event.

What should this say to us? One of the greatest moments in our lives is the moment or are the moments when Jesus Christ is given to us in communion. The Son of God. The Savior of the world. And how many forget that personal and special moment -- even an hour later?

Many recount meals as great moments of reunion, of being with loved ones and friends. Each day from this altar and in every church throughout the world there is for us a most memorable moment: I have just received the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Not just a piece of bread, not just a sip of wine. Jesus Christ came to me with all that he is. So much more than a wave, a handshake or the exchange of a few words. The Son of God himself came to me. Does this make a difference in my life? Is the Holy Communion I receive today an event I will allow to make my life different? That is what it's about!