Saturday, June 25, 2011

904:  Corpus Christi -- The Body and Blood of Jesus

Deacon Ed, Bishop Gonzalez, Fr. Peter
St John Vianney Parish, Prince Frederick, MD

In our lives the space between two planets looks like two or three inches.  But realistically the distance is measures in millions of miles!  We simply see space between the two planets.  In our personal lives we have a similar experience with a slight difference.  The distance between life's demands and life's dreams sometimes seems to have the same many miles between them.  The one big difference is this:  we know what is between demands and dreams:  a genuine spiritual hunger, a true longing for God's presence in our lives.

Today's celebration is another celebration of mystery.  The Eucharist is the bread and wine that become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  But how?  Why do some people not believe this mystery is real?  Many times when we cannot explain something to another or even ourselves, we tend to hide from it or to bury it somewhere in our reality.  Simple bread and a sip of wine:  sometimes we take them when given to us as though they were little more than some of the food we put on a platter in a deli.  What is it that is given to us?  What is it that we swallow?

The challenge to us today is this:  because the Eucharist is a mystery that I cannot dissect or diagram, do I just accept it, swallow it and then think little about what has just happened to me?  When I eat a cookie or drink a cold glass of lemonade, my body instantly tells me that something has just happened to it.  However, for many Catholics who receive the Eucharist does that moment tell them anything?  Do I return to my church seat and pull out the cell phone to see if I have missed any text messages or phone calls during the time it took me to receive Communion and return to my seat?  Do I immediately begin to think about what's next on my calendar since the time for Communion is a signal that we are in the home stretch for this liturgy and will be out of the church in just a few minutes?

If I believed that Jesus has become a part of my body in the last thirty or so seconds, do my heart and soul try telling me that something most unusual has happened to me?  Do I believe that Christ is within his temple of my body?

Receiving Communion and what anyone does for the several minutes after that moment should be a sign to each of us of the depth of my personal spirituality.  Yes, it should be that.  If there is little more than a quickly said personal prayer, then what is the significant of receiving Holy Communion?  Think of all the basics you may have taught you sons and/or daughters when they were preparing for their First Holy Communion.  Have you continued to stress those realities you or any parent tries to inculcate into the minds and hearts of the First Communicant?  If it seems to have lost its prominence, what happened?  Why is the extraordinary gift from the Father to us no longer extraordinary?  Why is it rarely taken as significant?

Some good questions, I believe.