Note: Hi all – this is Jessica Dennis, the curator and author of Leaven in the World. Fr. Brian is on vacation for the next two weeks and so I’ll be subbing in to give my own reflections on the Sunday readings while he is away. Since we were formed by the same professors (we were classmates at WTU!), we’re hoping that there will be at least a little continuity for those of you who visit the blog for some weekly inspiration. Disclaimer: I’ll be writing from the perspective of a stay-at-home mom, so my reflection will probably be a little different from what you’re used to 🙂
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, Year A | June 21/22, 2014
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi (you can take a look at the readings here). This reflection focuses on the second reading and our role, as members of the Church, as the Body of Christ.
As the mother of an almost-two year-old (where did the time go?), it’s hard for me to hear the words “body and blood” without thinking of going into labor. Like many mothers before me, the experience was both terrifying and charged with joyful/anxious anticipation, messy and beautiful — a point in time when my life and my daughter’s life were literally in the hands of perfect (albeit, professionally trained) strangers.
Even the word “body” (and all things associated with it) conjures up an interesting host of images for those who around young children all the time. Have you ever noticed how physically aware little kids are?
The exaggerated steps my daughter takes when she’s wearing a pair of shoes she’s not used to.
The laugh that starts bubbling up when she sees that Mom thinks something is funny.
The spontaneous oh-so-tight embrace of Dad’s knees.
(It makes me re-consider what being “comfortable in your own skin” looks like. Because even with all the blundering and awkwardness of learning how to move around in your own body, children just seem to have so much fun doing it.)
And then of course, there’s all the gross stuff. Changing dirty diapers. That spit-up that you didn’t realize got on your shirt. The mysterious way that fingers always seem to be sticky.
It’s a great metaphor for what being the Body of Christ can mean in our everyday lives:
Those moments in the delivery room, the offering up of our bodies to one another, the trust that we place in each other to take special care of us.
The outstretched arms of a toddler, wanting to be picked up. The trust that she places in me to take special care of her.
All the icky stuff. The stuff we don’t want to look at (or smell). But we do because we are entrusted to take special care of each other.
There’s a great quote from St. Augustine:
If you are the body and members of Christ,
then it is your sacrament which is placed on the table of the Lord;
it is your sacrament that you receive.
To that which you are, you respond: ‘Amen’ (‘Yes, it is true!’),
and by responding to it you assent to it.
For you hear the words ‘The Body of Christ,’ and respond ‘Amen.’
Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true (#1396).
Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, when we stand in line to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, do you know what (or who?) you are saying “Amen” to? Who are you saying “yes” to?
We say yes to Christ who, when he walked on earth over 2,000 years ago, was so aware of the depth of his Abba’s love for him that he gave all who he was, all his joys and sorrows and disappointments — all that he had — so that his entire life was a response, an offering to God.
We say yes to Christ’s members — the Church, the Body of Christ. Each other. Who by virtue of our common baptism, have been grafted into, united with Christ, so that we too, as adopted daughters and sons of God, might be able to cry out with the same conviction that Christ does — Abba.
We say Amen to all of the Body of Christ — the parts that are easy to love and especially the parts that are a lot harder to love.
We say Amen to our loved ones, the ones who, admittedly, can frustrate and anger us the most, but the ones who can also bring the greatest joy to our lives.
We say Amen to Church leaders, both to the ones who disappoint us, and the ones who give us hope for the future of the Church.
We say Amen to perfect strangers, who are also members of Christ through baptism. To the people sitting next to you in the pew, who come to Mass with their own joys and sorrows, ready to be offered up at the Eucharistic altar. To your sister and brother in Christ who, like you, is also broken vessel of Christ in need of healing.
We say Amen, not to condone the parts of the Body that we aren’t proud of, but as a way of saying “we are for you.”
We say Amen, ultimately, because we have been entrusted to take care of each other, and, together, continue the mission that Christ began over 2,000 years ago — the healing and redemption of the world.
Image courtesy of http://www.cruzblanca.org/hermanoleon/