THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST-A
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.
Our secular society tells us that we are individuals, that we are not connected with one another. It says things like: “It’s my life and I’ll live it as I please.” “It’s my body, and I’ll do with it whatever I want to.” “You are not the boss of me!”
But our faith in Jesus Christ teaches us something very different: that we are family. We became connected with one another as adopted sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father when we were baptized into the family of God, the Church.
When we receive Holy Communion – the Body and the Blood, the Soul and the Divinity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – we are connected with Him and He with us.
And we are also connected with those around us here and throughout the world who are receiving the same Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Today we also celebrate our family relationships of fatherhood on this Father’s Day weekend.
An eighty-year-old man remarked that the proudest moments of his life were when he held each of his children right after they were born.
Fatherhood is a life-changing experience, and those of you who are fathers, think about when you held your children for the first time. And then you looked at your baby’s mother who had carried that child in her womb for nine months. Now for the first time you see your child’s face. A great mystery is right there in your arms.
Mothers and fathers are very proud of their children. But in humility they also know that it was not just the two of them that gave their baby life. God is the Author of Life, and they cooperated with God in the giving of that life.
And so being a father is really accepting from God the vocation of fatherhood and faithfully following the calling that God has in mind for us.
If we look to the secular media for the meaning of fatherhood, very often the things that we see are no help at all.
We used to have television shows like Father Knows Best. But now we have things like Married with Children, and a host of others. Fathers used to be portrayed as being kind and compassionate and wise. In today’s situation comedies, fathers are often portrayed as idiots, burping their way through life and being put down by sharp-tongued wives and smart-mouthed kids. The theme is not “Father Knows Best,” but “Dumb Dad Knows Nothing.”
But rather than spending a lot of time lamenting this fact, it is better that we strive to become even better husbands and fathers, following the vocation, the calling, that God has in mind for us.
And how to do that today? I am going to suggest two ideas. And if you are already doing them I want to affirm you and support you.
The first is this: remember that moment when you first held your newborn child. Remember that moment often, and renew the commitments that you made that day to your child. Lift up your children to the Lord, support them emotionally, and do this in ways that are appropriate to their age and the relationship that you have with them. But always remember that first moment and renew those commitments regularly.
And the second is: bring God to your family and live connected with Him. Do this by beginning with yourself: being faithful to Sunday Mass every week, celebrating the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) regularly, responding to God by cultivating a personal prayer life. And then pray with your children, or if they are no longer in your home, pray for your children. Bring God to your family and live connected with Him.
Men sometimes find it difficult to pray because they find it hard to ask for help. But let me assure you that it is a very masculine and wise thing to do: to ask the Lord to help you.
So on this Father’s Day, we remember that fatherhood is a God-given calling, a graced vocation. And today is a new day to live it, nourished and strengthened by Jesus, the Son of God, who comes to us in His gift of the Eucharist so that He may live in us and we may live in Him.
Happy Father’s Day. And Happy Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.