Taking the Feast to its Natural Conclusion

When I was in the Holy Land, we visited the Chapel of the Multiplication of the Loaves & Fishes & there is this very famous mosaic on the floor under the altar & what is interesting is: you see the 2 fish but only 4 loaves, where’s the 5th Well, this mosaic is underneath the altar, so the 5th loaf is… on the altar; the 5th loaf is the Eucharist we celebrate !!!!

So what I want to talk about this morning is the feast of the Body of Christ, Corpus Christi, in the Latin…

Wouldn't you expect that… when someone knows God... their view of reality gets bigger, not smaller. It would almost follow logically…

Yet one of the sad things is that religious people tend to limit what God is doing instead of expanding it. God is always bigger than our hearts or minds can ever imagine.

And this it true w/regard to the doctrine of the Body of Christ… that we went smaller!

For example, in the 2nd reading Paul gives us his description of the Last Supper

In the same way he took the cup, after the supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. DO this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

In Mark “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.”

In Luke it’s: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”

In Matthew it’s “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Did you catch it?! At every mass we hear only Matthew’s version & we concluded: -it is all about sin & reward… it’s what we’ve made it into! But Sin is outnumbered by what? COVENANT!

And what is the most beautiful covenant 2 people enter into? Marriage! This was supposed to be about our relationship w/God! The wine poured out for you - a symbol of God’s outpouring love.

But we went smaller… What do we mean by Christ? I know you think we mean Jesus… No, the Christ, existed from all eternity! We call him the second person of the Blessed Trinity - the eternal Christ.

So, if the Father is the invisible mystery of God, *the Christ, is the invisible mystery become visible! So, whenever you have “visibility” to God in any shape or form, you’re encountering the Christ mystery.

What does that mean? - that means the incarnation, the manifestation of the eternal nature of God, began approximately --- 13.7 billion years ago. But Jesus came only 2000 years ago. The Christ came 13.7 billion years ago…

-and if you can imagineeverything your eyes have ever seen… since the moment you were born, is the visibility of God, is the manifestation of God.

-not is God. I'm saying it has the power to “reveal” God.

Now that ‘revealed one’ is the Christ. So, what we're doing in this feast of the Body & Blood of Christ, is we're taking this mystery of incarnation to its logical conclusion.

We start 13.7 billion years ago. God was not doing nothing for 13.7 billion years, every fish, every flower, every planet, every galaxy, every star, every animal was a manifestation of this one eternal God. What else could it be? What else could reality be but the body of God, the manifestation of God, which we call the Christ…

Now, approximately 2000 years ago, the only way I can understand it is humanity had grown up enough to fall… in… love w/Christ/ w/God. And at that point the Christ became visible in the one you & I know & worship as Jesus.

So, first of all comes the universe/creation itself, then the personal form in Jesus, which gave us the eyes to recognize the divine presence in… other… people! In fact, Paul says it; Youare the body of Christ,” so he pushes it a little further. It's not just Jesus, you also are the other Christs. “You are the temple of the H S.”

*In the first 1000 years of Catholic theology, we said that the true body of Christ was the people! The mystical body was the bread & the wine…

In the 2nd thousand years of the church, we almost completely turned those terms around &this became the true body…And so, we kneel before the Blessed Sacrament & that's lovely……I'm glad you show such respect.

But you became the mere mystical body, maybe, sort of, not always.

And what resulted? We treated bread more sacred than people!

And that has put us in a severe imbalance. We need to, of course, honor both of them, and, I might add, everything else in between.

Those of you who love animals are gonna have no trouble with this:

You won't be able to torture an animal or neglect an animal ever again because ‘they’ are the body of Christ.

When my spiritual director first joined the Franciscans, he told this story of how they could not even cut down a tree w/out asking the permission of their major superior because they knew Saint Francis said –even the flowers & the trees & the bushes & the plants are the Body of Christ.

Suddenly the sacred was everywhere, and we lived in a sacred universe.

Se where I'm going.

taking this feast/doctrine of the body of Christ, to its logical and final conclusion.

Not only in creation,

not only in the body of Jesus,

not only in human bodies,

not only in animal bodies,

not only in plants & trees & fish & birds,

*but in the very elements that grow out of the earth, bread… and… wine.

That’s what you believe if you’re a Catholic.

Now people think we worship bread, no we’re just the religion of the incarnation, that theWord has become flesh & the Word has become flesh everywhere!

*And that's the way it was first understood. But then we started whittling away & saying, -oh, Christ is here, but not there/ -Christ is in Catholics but not Protestants. -Christ is in white people, but not black people, -and we went on & on making the field of divine energy smaller & smaller till we live in the secular world that we live in today, where almost nothing is sacred!

One last comment on the Last Supper…that immediately after receiving the body & blood of the Lord, they sang a hymn (Mk 14:26).

And to quote St. Augustine; “singing is for one who loves.”

So, here was this group of people, w/each of their individual voices contributing to the unity of a song.

Their low voices & high voices & everything in between, all joined together

And I would venture to say that this singing together represents the unity that now bonded them together –

-the unity of those who had been transformed by Christ’s Body & Blood. The unity of the early Church…

You are the blessed people, who, in a few moments will come forward

and as Saint Augustine said, eat who you are, you become what you eat.

-struggle with it -is this really true? Could I really believe it, that somehow the divine presence is being given to me in the ordinary elements of bread and wine. What the church is saying is; exactly!!!

But I’m adding: go bigger! What's true in one place is true in every place. Struggle with it in one place & finally you'll enjoy it everywhere else too.

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