My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ! Every Sunday we come to church to participate in the Eucharist. So why do we observe this Sunday called Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) Sunday, as a special day dedicated to the Eucharist? Because it is easy to lose an appreciation of something we have so often and so close to us. Recently I listened to a talk in which the presenter said that every time we participate in Mass we are in heaven. It is true indeed. Our God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - is here. The angels and saints are here with whom we are united in an act of adoration of the Divine Persons. The Church, whom we also called the Body of Christ – Corpus Christi – and to whom we belong as members of that Body, is manifested here too. Still we can lose an appreciation of being invited to step into heaven which happens on the Earth when the mysteries of our salvation are open to us.
Like in the Gospel of Mark proclaimed today we have ‘Jesus’ dining room,’ the dining room which we now call our parish church. Like in the Gospel the room has been prepared by some good people, our fellow believers. Like in the Gospel Jesus comes to this parish church, our dining room, to have a Eucharistic meal with us. Like in the Gospel Jesus gives his Body: Corpus Christi to us who are his Church, his Body on the Earth, who are Corpus Christi. St Augustin in the first centuries of the Christian Faith while meditating on the Eucharist couldn’t take his eyes off the Body of Christ seated in the pews. That’s why overwhelmed by this realisation he would say to the faithful coming up to receive the Holy Communion: ‘Receive who you are.’ You are the Body of Christ. Receive the Body of Christ.
I am convinced that the Eucharist will be boring if one doesn’t have an appreciation and a desire to be part of the Body of Christ – the Church. What would you say to someone saying ‘I want to be a football player but I don’t want to play in a team. I want to play on my own’? It doesn’t make sense, does it? When our Blessed Lord celebrated the Last Supper - the first Eucharist, he gave it to the community of his Apostles. This most precious gift invites us to challenge our own understanding of Christian Faith. A Catholic is not an individualist who can relate to God on his or her own. A Catholic says: ‘I need fellow believers to be fully a believer.’ On his own he will be like a football player without a team. It doesn’t work.
Is the Mass repetitive? It is, and thank God for that. The Prophet Isaiah offers us an insight which can draw us to a deeper appreciation of the repetitiveness of Mass. Let us listen to the message the Prophet conveyed to the people on behalf of God: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’ How repetitive rain is, always the same. How life-giving it is though. We may hear the same words at Mass over and over again. However we need to hear them many times because we don’t change at instance. We need the rain of God’s word not so much to surprise us, like a good joke can, but to penetrate into our soul, mind and heart, like rain does to the Earth. I don’t look at it as repetitive but consistent. Like these most familiar words of Jesus we hear at every Mass: ‘This is my Body. This is my Blood.’ There maybe people who can hear them once to have no doubt that the bread and wine consecrated as Mass are Christ’s Body and Blood. However I suspect that the majority of us need to hear them many times so that the belief can sink in. That’s just one example, there are many other mysteries of God we need to be given consistently like a dry field needs a consistent rain, not a one shower in ten years, to produce fruit.
Let me finish with an insight I gained when I was finishing preparing this homily. Our God knows us very well. He knows that if we are to be the people of faith we need regular food made of his Word and the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ. A once in a while religious service would not sustain our faith.
My Sisters and Brothers! You are the Body of Christ so receive the Body of Christ and rejoice that God gives you this precious gift regularly.