Apr 18, 2019

Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity


-We call it “The Last Supper”.  We recall Christ’s words, “This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this in memory of me”. But that’s only from our perspective.

We can picture Our Lord and the twelve apostles gathered around the table with Him in the middle. But we can also delete pictures and replace them with others.

We can read and meditate on the dialogue that took place. But we can also note the page number, close the book and get back to it at a later date.

We can repeat the scene from memory by acting it out on stage, painting it on a canvas, ritualizing it through sacred actions. And when we are finished, we can drop the curtain, pack away the canvas and hang up the vestments, for there may be other things on our to-do list before the day is out.

Instead, I invite you to enter, if you can, into the mind, body, and soul of Christ Himself, to enter into His perspective, into His body, into His very soul. What does He see as He looks into the eyes of those gathered around Him? How does He reach out to those who are before Him? What is stirring within His heart and soul anticipating that shortly He will be arrested, tortured and be nailed up on a makeshift scaffold, publicly exposed to the world and to slowly, painfully die?

Often, we clergy will exhort and encourage the people to actively engage, to participate with all our effort and strength in the liturgy, in the ritual of prayer, praise, and worship. The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, indeed every Mass, turns the table around.  It is Christ who initiates an engagement with those around Him whether you be attentive or not. It is Christ who participates with us as He reaches out and extends His Body and Blood towards us whether we are saints or sinners. It is Christ who washes your feet and telling you to follow in His footsteps whether we are ready or not.

And even though, in that upper room, from the perspective of His disciples who at that time were clueless, who could not fathom what He was doing with the bread and wine or why He was washing their feet, from Christ’s perspective, He was loving them to death - loving us to death.  How?

Christ’s Mind and Heart participates in ours - minds so easily distracted, hearts so quick to change.

Christ’s Body and Blood participates in our own - weakened by time, scared by abuse, ravaged by pain, sickness, and disease.

Christ’s Soul and Divinity enters into our own, created in God’s image and likeness - our soul and our divinity often compromised by fear and damaged by sin.

Christ participates in our mind, in our heart, in our body, in our soul and divinity, not through the bread and wine of our own making and effort that simply passes through us. Christ participates in us, engages us, here and now, with the very substance of His death defeating Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Stop thinking of the limitations of your mind. Allow Christ’s to participate in yours to open up every possibility of goodness beyond imagination. Stop allowing your heart to react with every impulse. Allow Christ’s heart to participate in yours, moving you to love with purity and sacrifice.  Stop being careless with your actions. Allow Christ’s Body and Blood to participate in yours, allowing you to become immortal, a new creation. Stop confining your prayer time to bits and pieces here and there. Allow Christ’s Soul and Divinity to participate in yours, so that you might stand among the angels and saints of heaven and see God face to face in glory.

Could this be real? Might this be only spiritual poetry, inspirational words, symbolic images? It is real. Christ makes it real through His priesthood - that’s how He participates with you and me - through His priesthood, the sacrificial offering of His perfect self for us imperfect men and women. At every Mass Christ’s priesthood, His one, eternal sacrifice is offered in time to everyone gathered at this altar.

Pray particularly that more young men may become sacramentally configured to Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity that they become for our sake, priests after the manner of the Good Shepherd who came, not to be served, but to serve and to participate in the continuous journey of humanity from slavery to freedom, through Christ our Lord. Allow Christ’s priesthood of His Body and Blood to participate in every fiber of your being, not only for this hour but every day, both now and forever. Amen.

Solitary Palm for Sunday

Throughout our history, every year on Palm Sunday we gathered in mass in the piazza outside the church. We all held palms and listene...