Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Boldness of the Eucharist (Corpus Christi homily)

When we think about the Eucharist,
there are obviously aspects that make us ponder.
We see this miracle, and we think about how
God’s power is on display.

Through the priest Jesus makes his sacrifice
of Good Friday present on this altar.
As part of that, Jesus turns ordinary bread and wine
into his own Body and Blood--into his true self.

That’s power--and yet, notice God’s vulnerability.

I put God himself on your tongue, or in your hands.
He’s in my power--he’s in your power.
What will we do with Him?

Sometimes he’s taken lightly;
we give him a moment’s thought and move on.
Priests take liberties with the Mass or take it as a routine.

There’s a boldness to the Eucharist.

Jesus puts himself out there, on the line.
He put the Eucharist--the Mass--in the hands of his Church,
counting on us to be faithful to it,
counting on priests not to mess up.

I’d like to suggest that this demands a similar boldness from us.

One form of that boldness is our procession this weekend.
We aren’t just going to keep Jesus in our churches.
We are going out into the streets of Piqua,
carrying the Lord of the Universe to his people.

Some will respond in faith; others with indifference--
and some even with mockery.

Why should that surprise us--or deter us?
They crowned him with thorns--
why should we be surprised if you or I get similar treatment?

Peter and the Apostles rejoiced
when they suffered for the Name of Christ--and so should we!

How can we not be bold for Christ?
If we’re not being bold in sharing our faith, something is wrong.
It’s surely not because there’s nothing to say;
not because there’s no one who needs to hear it.

You might answer, “I don’t know what to say.”
Jesus said don’t worry about it:
the Holy Spirit will give you words.
But he counts on us to be bold. He’s relying on us.

I can’t fail to mention something. I know it’s delicate.
We know what happened in New York on Friday,
when the legislature redefined marriage.
Lots of people are celebrating that;
and the Catholic bishops of New York--and really, all of us--
are being cast as bad guys, enemies of “progress.

We’re being called “bigots.”

Why do we say that marriage is only between a man and a woman? Why do we insist?

My answer may surprise you.
But it’s not--I repeat, not--because of what Scripture says.

It’s because that the reality of what human beings are.
Marriage is a product of human nature itself.

We defend marriage and family with a father and mother
for reasons similar to why we defend the environment
and why we care about animals being wiped out.

Our natural world is complex system--
wrecking our environment is a pretty dangerous thing to do.
So why are we so cavalier about the human environment, the family?

A better question is,
who gave the state of New York
the right to redefine what marriage is?

Can the government do whatever it likes,
as long as it has the votes, and interest groups to please?

When the government redefines what marriage is,
it also redefines what the family is--
and, eventually, what it means to be human.
And when they do that, all of us are affected.
Everyone is affected.

And I bring this up, not only because it’s timely--
and I owe it to you to teach our Faith--
but also because this is an example
of where boldness from us is needed.

We’re standing by while this is happening.
God didn’t send us here to stand by and be silent, but to speak up.

Not with any malice at all. We aren’t “against” anyone.
That is not Christ’s message.

But are for marriage and the family.
And if folks mock us or say bad things about us,
we should not be surprised.
We are Christ’s followers, that’s what he told us would happen.

Christ is bold in the Eucharist. He puts himself out there for us.
He calls us to do the same, right beside him.

1 comment:

Gail F said...

What a fantastic homily; thanks for posting this!