Sunday, June 14, 2020

JUNE 14, 2020

TODAY’S LITURGY IS CENTERED AROUND THE CELEBRATION OF THE VERY HEART OF OUR FAITH, THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST PRESENTED TO US IN THE FORM OF BREAD AND WINE. THIS GIFT WAS GIVEN TO US BY JESUS AT THE LAST SUPPER. IF JESUS HAD NOT GIVEN US THIS MYSTERY, “THIS IS MY BODY, THIS IS MY BLOOD,” THEN EVEN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS WOULD QUITE PROBABLY BE SOMETHING WE WOULD ONLY READ ABOUT IN HISTORY BOOKS. BUT BY ADDING THE WORDS, “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME,” JESUS MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO HAVE SOMETHING PHYSICALLY TANGIBLE TO REMEMBER HIM BY.

(BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE.)

IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, JESUS SAYS,”…YOU WILL REALIZE THAT I AM IN MY FATHER AND YOU ARE IN ME AND I IN YOU.”

IN PAUL’S FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS, PAUL SAYS,”A BODY IS ONE THOUGH IT HAS MANY PARTS AND ALL ARE PARTS OF THE ONE BODY, SO ALSO IS CHRIST.”

AGAIN IN JOHN’S GOSPEL, “I AM THE VINE, YOU ARE THE BRANCHES.”

IN OTHER WORDS BY OUR BAPTISM WE BECOME THAT BODY OF CHRIST, A PART OF THAT VINE, EACH INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS BUT ALL ONE BODY.

NOW WE KNOW AND MUST ADMIT THAT SIN AFFECTS THE VINE, THE BODY OF CHRIST. IF THAT IS SO, THEN WOULD AFFECTING THAT BODY OF CHRIST NOT ALSO AFFECT US, THE BRANCHES?

CONSIDER OUR PHYSICAL BODIES WITH ITS VARIOUS ARMS, LEGS, ORGANS, ETC. IF ANYTHING AFFECTS ONE OF THOSE MEMBERS, MANY IF NOT ALL OF THE OTHER MEMBERS WILL BE AFFECTED. THAT THEN WOULD AFFECT OUR OVERALL BODIES.

JUST AS OUR ARMS CANNOT BUILD UP MUSCLES WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE CONDITION OF THE HEART IN RELATION TO THE HEALTH OF THE WHOLE BODY, SO WE CANNOT GO OUR MERRY WAY IN LIFE IGNORING THE CONDITION OF OUR FELLOW BRANCHES ON THE HEALTH OF THE VINE, JESUS.

IN OUR FAITH WE NEED TO REALIZE THAT SAME INTERACTION AND INTERDEPENDENCY BETWEEN JESUS AND OUR FELLOW CHRISTIANS.

NOTE JESUS DID NOT SAY, I AM THE VINE, YOU, IF YOU ARE OF A CERTAIN CULTURE OR RACE OR SKIN COLOR OR SEX, THEN YOU ARE MY BRANCHES. HE INCLUDED EVERYONE.

SO WHENEVER WE DO OR SAY ANYTHING THAT DEVALUES ANY OTHER “BRANCH,” A FELLOW HUMAN, THEN WE DEVALUE THE VINE, JESUS.

SOMEHOW THAT RATIONALE HAS ELUDED MANKIND SINCE APOSTOLIC TIMES. PEOPLE COULD NOT OR WOULD NOT PUT THE TWO TOGETHER. THAT BODY AND BLOOD THAT JESUS GAVE US ON THURSDAY, SHED ON FRIDAY AND THEN ON SUNDAY PROVED TRUE ALL HE HAD SAID FAILED TO BE INTERNALIZED BY THE PEOPLE. TO THIS DAY WE ARE SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES. WE THINK NOTHING OF PRAYING ON SUNDAY AND THEN SAYING UNCHARITABLE THINGS ABOUT OTHERS IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN. WE THINK NOTHING OF TEACHING OUR CHILDREN ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE BUT THEN REFUSING TO GET INVOLVED WHEN OBVIOUS INJUSTICES ARE OBSERVED. WE DECRY THE ECONOMIC INEQUITIES THAT EXIST AMONG OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS BUT RECOIL WHEN ASKED TO PAY A FEW ADDITIONAL DOLLARS TO ALLEVIATE THAT INEQUITY. WE ARE TOO EASILY DRAWN INTO APATHY WITH A FEELING OF NOT BEING ABLE TO CHANGE ANYTHING WITH OUR SMALL ACTIONS.

OUR FAITH AND TODAYS’ FEAST COMPEL US TO HONOR AND RESPECT AND BE GRATEFUL FOR THE GIFT OF THE EUCHARIST, WHETHER RECEIVED PHYSICALLY OR SPIRITUALLY. THAT GIFT THEN COMPELS US TO RESPECT AND CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

SO WHEN WE RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST, THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, THE VINE UPON WHICH OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES DEPENDS, LET’S ALLOW IT TO HELP US LIVE CHARITABLY WITH OUR NEIGHBORS, THOSE OTHER BRANCHES.

AFTER ALL, TO BORROW THE PHRASE OF THOSE ENCOURAGING ALL OF US IN THE CURRENT PANDEMIC, WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

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