Homily – Corpus Christi Sunday


On May 31st, in her monthly publication, Monastic Way, Sr. Joan Chittister shared these words from Robert Kennedy:

“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance!”

Today in the country of Yemen, people, many of them children are literally starving to death while Saudi Arabia and Iran fight with each other for power and control of the area.

Closer to home, this country debates, whether the rights of gun owners are more important than the rights to life of our school children.

In both examples, you may be thinking that I have simplified them too much as to not understand the total picture.  Sometimes when problems appear so big that we seemingly can’t do a thing to make a difference, I think the simplest answer might be the best one!

If fighting is keeping the food from those who are starving, then it behooves all of us as responsible people living in a world that has become incredibly small, to do what is necessary to feed the hungry.

If guns kill people and we know that this is so, then as responsible people in this country, we can’t make it so easy for those who want to kill people, to do so!

The Catholic hierarchy that supposedly follows in the footsteps of Jesus who was nothing if not inclusive of women in life and ministry, reiterated its 10 year ban on the ordination of women this past week.  Coming at this one with the simplest response, I would say, “Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus!”

Today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi—The Body of Christ.  This is a beautiful feast if we see it in its fullness.  Contrary to what the Catholic church Universal has lifted up for us over the centuries—that of respect and love and honor shown to the elements on the altar—which we should do; this feast calls us to so much more.

We are grateful to our brother Jesus for leaving us a tangible way to be close—the Eucharist, but I believe he never intended it to end there, as a personal, intimate  comingling with the divine.  Jesus was always a person of action in his humanity—always reaching out, uplifting the poor, the down-trodden and calling the powers-that-be to do the same!

The gift of the Eucharist that Jesus left us on that first Holy Thursday was meant to be an action word and substance, a verb, if you will, not a static noun, to be honored. When we receive the bread, the wine, made, by our words at the consecration, Jesus’ body and blood—a mystery we can only take on faith, the intent, I suggest, was always to transform this gift, make it part of ourselves and carry it to our world, through our actions of justice, as Robert Kennedy once suggested that we do.  The real transubstantiation that needs to take place is that we, each of us would become “bread” for our world.

So, you see, this feast isn’t a complicated one at all, but really quite simple!

Friends, if, when we receive the Eucharist—we do not allow it to transform us, then we, have fallen short of truly walking in Jesus’ footsteps.  The examples I gave in the beginning are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak of areas in our city, country and world that need the love, mercy, understanding and justice of our brother Jesus, so let’s continue our work! Amen? Amen!