Homily And Reflections: Sunday of the Body of Christ June 22,2014
On this Sunday we remember Jesus’ gift of himself . Jesus gave himself in radical love. This meant long exhausting days surrounded and pursued by people in need of teaching and healing, challenging the shortcomings of established religion, and spending short nights with not enough sleep, body broken, blood poured out for all of humanity in the way he lived his life and in his death. Compassion for the poor and outcast especially moved him. He was on fire for them and against injustice. He asked the same of those who would follow him (Matthew 25). He gave it all so we could know and feel to the core of our very beings the meaning of “love one another”. Indeed on this special Sunday we are filled with thanksgiving and love for Jesus the Christ who gave it all.
In the Eucharist, the feast of thanksgiving and Holy Communion, we partake of the Body of Christ in all of its forms. We believe in the mystery of Christ- on the Table in the bread and wine, at the Table and all around the Table. Our readings of the day say that God nourished God’s people in the wilderness by providing a special substance called manna (Deuteronomy 8). God feeds God’s people on the finest wheat (Psalm 47). The Epistle reading says: “The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we , though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (I Cor. 10-16-170.) We are nourished by his real presence in the bread and wine and in the people of God. The Sacrament is on the altar, yes, but in every one of us as we are the Body of Christ-we are the Sacrament of Christ’s love in the world. Most especially as we serve the poor and broken we know exhaustion and challenge as Jesus did, and we also see the face of Christ everywhere, being served and serving with us. We know a little of what it meant to be bread for the world as Jesus was (John 6:51-58). We know how this Bread gives us life now and forever and how we can leave no one behind as we share this life giving Bread.
Some of these thoughts are from my book Come By Here: Church with the Poor, AmericaStarBooks.com,2010,now available in Spanish as well. The reason I include this citation is that the stories of the lives of those served and serving with us as we ministered to the homeless and poor outside in the streets and inside in our church house illuminate the essence of the body of Christ broken, yet whole.
Here is the Corpus Christi reflection of another street minister, Rev. James Patrick Hall an Episcopal priest serving the homeless in Tulsa, Oklahoma:
” Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, and I would dearly love to join a Procession in the streets, attend a High Mass, with clouds of incense and deep throated choirs intoning “Humbly I adore thee, Verity unseen”….but…
Today is also the day we have our Church on the street here in Tulsa, Thursday Night Light, and as much as I love the ancient worship of our Church, I love being with my street Church even more.
So, as I thought about this, I realized there will be no conflict; Christ is most truly Present in the people gathered tonight. I will see as Colossians 1:27 says, a great mystery; Christ Present in His people gathered.
In this great Communion of the Street, I can bow before Christ and confess Ave Verum Corpus Christi (Hail True Body of Christ) !
Colossians 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
‘Humbly I adore Thee, Verity unseen,
Who Thy glory hiddest ’neath these shadows mean;
Lo, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed…'”
Precious Body, Precious Blood, Precious Jesus, we, your people love you and remember. Grant us the strength to follow you and to be nourished by your love as we bring the Bread of Life to the world. Amen
Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
Fort Myers, Florida