The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year B
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18 (13)
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
June 3, 2018
As we celebrate today’s Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, our diocesan Year of the Eucharist draws to a close.
When Bishop Matano proclaimed this Year of the Eucharist, his pastoral letter called us to a deeper understanding of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Whether we are celebrating a Year of the Eucharist or not, the Eucharist is always the source and summit of who we are as a Catholic Church.
To celebrate the Eucharist is to celebrate the Crucifixion of Jesus for our sins. To receive the Eucharist is to become more like Jesus.
Our gospel passage today comes from Mark’s telling of the Passion of Jesus which we heard on Palm Sunday earlier this year. The passage as read today ends with Jesus’ words at the Last Supper instituting the Eucharist as he proclaims the bread and wine to be his Body and Blood. Prior to that we hear of the disciples making preparation for the Passover.
How do we prepare ourselves to celebrate the Eucharist? One thing we do is to fast for an hour before receiving Communion. This is to be a witness of us saying what we are about to receive is important.
We are also called to think about our worthiness to receive the Eucharist. Have we committed any mortal sins that need to be confessed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Do we think about why we call it “Communion”? In receiving Communion, we are saying that we want to be part of the Body of Christ. We desire to live as Jesus teaches us. Think of the first reading where it says Moses “related all the words and ordinances of the LORD” and they answered, “We will do everything that the LORD has told us.”
Do we live as the Lord tells us? Do we desire to become what we receive, the Body of Christ?
What does it mean to be a member of the Body of Christ?
For us individually, it begins with Baptism. It continues with our reception of the Eucharist (and the other sacraments). It calls us to live as Christ taught us.
Being a member of the Body of Christ is not just a matter for us as individuals. Being part of the Body of Christ is to be part of the community of believers in our Church. The Church is the Body of Christ.
This means coming together, each with our different gifts, working together as one body for the building up of God’s Kingdom (think of the words we say in the Lord’s Prayer, thy kingdom come).
How do we experience the Church as the Body of Christ? Our most tangible way of experiencing “church” is in our parish building. Yet, being “Church” is not solely about a building. The building is important and needs to be a very reverent space to grow deeper with Christ. The Church also involves the people but not just the people who come to St. Michael’s.
To speak of The Church is think universally, including every child of God. As I said, the parish can be the tangible way in which we think of church but we need to think more broadly. To discern what this means, we need to ask ourselves what is the best way to make God’s kingdom known in this world.
We have just celebrated the 150th anniversary of the establishment of our diocese. When our diocese was established in 1868, it was a growing Church. It continued to grow, establishing new parishes and building Catholic schools for several decades. Now, we are a shrinking church.
In light of this, how are we called to be the Body of Christ to the world today? To do this, Bishop Matano has called for increasing collaboration among parishes. Near the end of February, we had an article in the bulletin to announce that he has called all of the Catholic parishes in Wayne County to be in dialogue to talk about our future.
In today’s bulletin you will find both an insert and an article about our planning process (Click here for more information). There is information there to direct parishioners to a survey that we are asking all parishioners to do to help us assess what we are doing well and where we can be doing better. You can take the survey online or we have paper copies in church. Your opinion is important as we work to be the Body of Christ.
In the insert, you will also find some possible scenarios about how we can collaborate with one less priest in Wayne County. I’m sure there’s going to be questions. The article in the bulletin itself has the names of our parish representatives for this process. Please feel free to ask questions and offer constructive comments always remembering that our goal is to be the Body of Christ as we work to make God’s kingdom known in this world.