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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Corpus Christi Prep - June 10

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00pm and 11:00am

Most sacred Body and Blood of Christ!

Many years ago I attended a house party. As I enter the house the hostess shouted "welcome" in glee. She was carrying a tray full of unidentified morsels. In her enthusiasm she picked up one of these morsels and approached me and said "father, open wide." I was not inclined to take this morsel of food. I said "what is it?" She said "trust me you'll like it."

I took it and as I sunk my teeth into it I realized I didn't like it and I asked "what is it?" She said "froi gras". Well I did not know what froi gras was at the time but I knew I didn't like it. I simply had to swallow.

On this feast of the body and blood of Christ I am afraid that too many of us Catholics are approaching the precious Eucharist with the same attitude. When we realize what it is - in its entirety- we do not like it but we swallow it whole. We move from our first holy Communion very anxious and welcoming to receive the body of Jesus. We welcome Jesus into our hearts.

However, as adults we are called to realize all that the Body of Christ proposes and contains and, quite frankly, we choke. Oh, we receive the sacred host, however we are full of reservations about all that it means for us. Many Catholics today have to swallow hard when it comes to the full embrace of the Body of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ, that is present and signify in the holy Eucharist - His Body.

That is understandable. The difficulty in being people of faith is NOT believing in the miracle of the Eucharist and longing for the grace of salvation contained in the sacred species. The difficulty with being in communion is that we must live in love with the body of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. The body of Christ, the church, is a sacrament in and of itself however it is made up of people. As Charlie Brown is quoted to have said "I love humanity, it's people I can't stand." Too often the thorny, disagreeable, demanding, rule-making, mistake-making, sinful, Body of Christ, human-divine institution, is very distasteful to us. Many of us must swallow hard to remain in communion with the church.

We cannot claim to love the Eucharist and at the same time have reservations about the church. That's what makes it difficult. We are called to recognize in and through faith the presence of Jesus Christ in communion with the church as much and as readily as we recognize Jesus Christ present in the communion of the church we call the Eucharist.

This is the heartbreak of denominationalism in the body of Christ. People protest and leave the church - they do not leave Jesus, at least that's what they say. Quite frankly, it is easy to love Jesus it is almost impossible to be happy with his body, the church. However both are necessary for living a life full of salvation. How are you doing on swallowing the fullness of Communion along with the sacred body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist?

Let me know.


JoyFuralle said...

Laughed SOOOOO hard about the foie gras!

And most of us are at the "we welcome Jesus into our hearts" and just don't think of the rest of it. Like getting married...if people knew what-all it is when they say "I do" would they???

I wonder . . . if we truly realized everything we were saying "Amen" to, how short would the communion procession be?

Kathleen said...

I remember the sense of “communion” that I felt with the Church worldwide as I watched the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II on early morning television. I felt the same sense of communion at the funeral of a dear elderly aunt, a sickly but beautiful person to whom God and the church were her major source of strength. I also recall the words of a cousin after the funeral of her parents. They had been daily communicants in their retirement and they died together in an auto accident. This cousin had fallen away from the church at a young age (in the late ‘60s) and had only been married by a priest and had the children baptized to satisfy the wishes of her parents and in-laws. In regards to her parents’ funeral mass, this cousin, who never misses a family birthday party, wedding, reunion or picnic, said “That service meant nothing to me. I got nothing out of it.” How tragic, I thought. Sadly, she’s far from being the only ‘Catholic’ I know who does not acknowledge the sublime gift that the Eucharist is. Though those who no longer practice the faith far outnumber them, in the circle of my friends and family are a few who, in one or more ways, blatantly disregard church law and teaching e.g. remarriage outside the church after divorce, and still move into the procession to receive the ‘sacrament of unity’ when they attend (infrequently) a funeral or other special mass. I have discerned that their attitude is “What is it to you? It’s none of your business.” Well…

In today’s first reading the Israelites said, “All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do.” I have to approach Jesus in the Eucharist with that same promise. Israel had a terrible time living up to its commitment, and conforming my will to God’s will—revealed to me through the Holy Spirit, prayer, church teaching, the sacraments—sometimes, yes, requires a big gulp and a swallow. I receive His Sacrament remembering that He promised me, as a disciple, an earthly cross (followed by unimaginable glory in the hereafter), and that He will be with me to help carry it.

anon 1 said...

My husband and I recently visited a friend who moved to Florida only a few years ago. He loves the weather there - every day is the same: mostly sunny and warm; he expressed his satisfaction with the upper middle class neighborhood he selected - very attractive and nearly identical houses with small neatly trimmed yards (maintained by one management company so they too are all nearly identical); and he commented that all the people there are "normal" - I think referring to them all being Caucasian, well-educated, and not dependent on any government aid.

You can see where I am going with this - and I apologize for the "judgment" insinuated - because I know that I too engage in this "insulated" living at some level. I think most of us are attracted to - more comfortable with - "likeness," and so we can feel ill at ease in the company of others who don't look/live/act the way we do.

Another friend of mine just described her experience of entering a classroom and her instant reaction was discomfort, because none of her new fellow students appeared to be "like her." After spending a number of weeks with these strangers - learning with them, sharing ideas with them, and analyzing each other's work - she has come to like them all quite a bit. As she shared her story, we both agreed what a difference it makes when seemingly different people take the time to get to know each other. What at first seemed odd or unappealing about a person often then becomes a unique feature and characteristic which makes the person special in some sense - and identifies them as their own distinctive child of God.

I am seeing that meditating on the Matador's words and the true meaning of this feast can lead me into a deeper appreciation of the sign of unity and bond of love we are called to be. Through the sacrament of the Church, the grace of God, and the power of the Body and Blood of Christ, maybe I can learn to embrace the "differences" of others yet a little bit more; seeing through eyes the color of justice, rather than judgment.

Anonymous said...