Some people say: “Why do we need to go to Mass? Can’t I simply pray before a beautiful picture of Christ I have got in my place?” Well, answer me this question first: Would you say to your Dad: “Dad I have got a picture of yours in my place. I won’t be coming to see you, but I will look at the picture instead?” Do you think that your Dad would be happy to hear that?
Some people say: “Why do we need to go to Mass? We can go to a park, or the beach or the mountain to pray. These places were created by God and we can sense his presence there.” Well, answer me this question first: Would you say to your Mum: “Mum I have got those warm socks, beanie and scarf you made for me last year. They are so perfect for this freezing Melbourne winter. I will not come to see you but I will wear them and I will remember you.” Do you think that your Mum would be happy with that? Probably she would be thinking: “Why did I make that stupid beanie for him? It stops him from seeing me.”
My Dear friends! God has given us many beautiful things, but these things aren’t God. They should make us desire God not to keep us away from him.
So why should we go to Mass? The first thing is because our God is here like in no other place on this planet. “The blessing cup that we bless is a communion with the Blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the Body of Christ.” - as we read in the Letter to the Corinthians. Remember also this: God’s got feelings too. As we read in the Holy Bible, Christ did suffer when he was abandoned by his disciples before his Passion. Don’t put him through this again.
Secondly, we should go to Mass because when we stay away from Mass our faith starts weakening. It is like with any relationship. If you don’t share your life with the person who is important to you, soon you start growing apart and the person isn’t important to you anymore.
Our first reading today takes us to those forty years the Chosen People walked the desert. What was so special about that long walk that we still remember that and reflect on that? God walked with his people. He shared with them their joys and sufferings, their ups and downs. That’s why those people grew close to him. They were still imperfect but they knew that they had God within their easy reach. Manna they collected every day proved that God was with them every day.
I have been a priest for 12 years and the greatest gift I have received from Our Blessed Lord is that I can celebrate Mass, that at my hands the bread and wine become Jesus’ Body and Blood. It is a great gift, but the Dear Lord has given me another gift during those 12 years: there hasn’t been a day in my priestly life without Mass. Sometimes it wasn’t easy to do Mass, especially when I was travelling. I remember doing Masses at the airports or even on the planes sitting in economy. I have done Masses at 11.30pm all by myself and falling asleep at the altar but there was Mass every day.
My Sisters and Brothers! What I have come to believe celebrating Mass so often is this: Fight hard anything and anybody that can distract you from Sunday Mass. At Mass every Sunday, you bring to Christ present here your ordinary life with its ups and downs. Don’t feel bad when you can’t focus as your mind is imagining what your teenage son or daughter are doing while on holidays with their mates. Don’t feel embarrassed when in your mind the song from the birthday party of your husband is stronger than the church hymns. All these things don’t make Mass bad but they simply bring to the Lord your joys and sorrows you are having in your life. By sharing these joyous and sad moments with Jesus your faith, your trust you love for him grow stronger and stronger.
In Australia Corpus Christi Sunday we have at the beginning of such a plain and unimpressive winter season. What does this Corpus Christi Sunday mark then? It marks Jesus Christ, our Dear Lord wanting to share with us our life as it is. Your life and mine life are important to him even if it plain most of the time. Do you know why? Because he loves us.