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Fr. Tim’s Homily for Sunday, June 3, 2018

 

Sunday, June 3, 2018 

THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST-B

CORPUS CHRISTI

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Exodus 24: 3-8

Hebrews 9: 11-15

Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26

 

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Eucharist. 

In today’s first reading, Moses offers a sacrifice to God in the desert and reads to the Israelites from the Book of the Covenant.  And all of the people answer:  “All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do.”

God had brought the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt and was leading them to the Promised Land.  They were pilgrims on the way to their homeland.

And so are we:  we are pilgrims on the way to our homeland in heaven.

In the Gospel, Jesus sends two of His disciples into the city to make arrangements for the Passover meal.

Then Jesus came and celebrated the Last Supper with His apostles and gave them – and us – the gift of Himself, the Eucharist: “This is My Body.  This is My Blood.  Do this in memory of Me.”

Then at the end of the Passover meal, after singing a hymn, they go out to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus would be arrested and be led to His death…  and, of course, His resurrection would follow.

There is a lot of movement in these Scripture passages:  a lot of going and coming…  a lot of processions.

A crowd of people walking down a busy street is exactly that:  a random collection of individuals who happen to be moving in the same direction.

But when those individuals move in the same direction and for the same purpose – to march for life in Washington, DC, to celebrate a Cavs’ championship, to march in a Memorial Day parade – the act of walking together unites them as one body.  And if that group begins to sing, they become one voice.

So it is with the Mass:  walking and singing in procession unites us as one body, one voice.

The Mass is built on processions.  The entrance procession moves the ministers from the main doors of the church to the altar. The Gospel procession moves the Gospel book and the Gospel proclaimer from the altar to the pulpit.  The offertory gift procession moves the bread and wine from the table in the back of the church to the altar in the front of the church for consecration.  The Communion procession moves all us from our places in the pews to the altar where we are fed with the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist.  The closing procession leads us from the church to announce the Gospel to the world.

And where do our processions ultimately lead us?  We are pilgrims on journey to our homeland – heaven.  And day by day, step by step, we get closer to our final destination.

Our processions during Mass mean something.  And they do something to us.

I would like to highlight for you two processions that will take place during this Mass:  the offertory gift procession and the Communion procession – and how they are related.

With the offertory gift procession, members of the congregation process from the back of the church to the sanctuary.  They carry with them the gifts of the people – bread and wine, fruits of the earth and the work of human hands.  The priest receives these gifts from them and places them on the altar where, by the power of the Holy Spirit and through sacramental priesthood, these gifts are changed into something entirely new, that they were not before – the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

And then during the Communion procession the gifts that we presented during the offertory gift procession are returned to us not as we presented them – as bread and wine – but rather having been transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

Our processions during Mass mean something.  And they do something to us.  Walking and singing in procession unites us as one body, one voice.

And where do our processions ultimately lead us? We are pilgrims on journey to our homeland – heaven.  And day by day, step by step, we get closer to our final destination.

Happy Feast of Corpus Christi.  Happy Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ – Who makes us one in Him through His gift of Himself in the Eucharist.