Solemnity of Corpus et Sanguinis Christi
[Scripture Readings: Ex 24:3-8; Heb 9:11-15; Mk 14:12-16, 22-26 ]
A common complaint of people my age and older is forgetfulness. How many times have I said, “My memory is going , I can’t trust my memory anymore” or what is worse, someone else telling you, “Boy, is your memory shot!” Young people can describe their memories as steal traps — once something is in there it never leaves. Older people talk in terms of sieves. Nothing stays in a sieve.
However, there is another side to this. I believe it was Cardinal Newman who said the best thing about most of what we learn is that we can forget it. Think of all the books or newspapers or magazines you have read and forgot about. Our minds would go crazy if we could not forget most of it. Yet, there are things we never forget. As children we are taught values that become part of who we are. I see infants receiving love and care from their parents. This love will be theirs forever and will give them ability to love in return. There are other values we set out to acquire such as honesty and fidelity and patience. Once acquired they become habits—our second nature. We do not forget things like this. A good habit does not leave us just because we are not thinking of it constantly. It is constantly with us. This is the point. We need continuity and discontinuity in our life to stay sane. We need to forget and to remember
Think of how insane it would be if we did not have this rhythm of change. Daylight is great but what if night never came? Eating is enjoyable but we cannot eat all day long, or should I say, we should not eat all day long! This need for variety may be why it is so hard to imagine heaven. Heaven is eternal. What about the rhythm of change, the remembering and forgetting needed for our sanity? Will it be daylight all the time in Heaven? A better way to imagine heaven is to look at our relationships. Once you have a good relationship you never tire of it. A mother, for example, loves a child forever, no matter how old the child. Love endures, as St. Paul says.
Today we are celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi. It is a feast of the Eucharist but it differs from say Holy Thursday or other Eucharistic feasts. It is different in that it sort of freezes that moment after the consecration when the priest elevates the host for all to see and worship. Many older Catholics will strike their breast at that most sacred moment, acknowledging their unworthiness to gaze on such a sacrament.
The Eucharist is called the unbloody sacrifice of the cross. It is an action. It is Jesus offering himself to the Father through his death on the cross. Like the love in the heart of a mother or father, it is an action that never ceases. Now in heaven, Jesus offers himself continually to the Father in the Spirit—offers his glorified body, head and members. Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we are brought into that offering.
Today we will have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament all day long. The moment of offering frozen, as it were, so we can have time to contemplate the meaning of this moment in eternity. We never tire of love. The Host is the real presence of that love in Jesus for each of us. Now we gaze on the host in faith. Someday we will experience the look of love in return. St. Bernard ended one of his homilies with these words about heaven: “(then) There will be a oneness of spirit, a reciprocal vision, and reciprocal love. When what is perfect comes what is partial will be done away with; and the love between (God and us) will be chaste and consummated, full recognition, open vision, strong unity, indivisible fellowship and perfect likeness. Then the soul will know as it is known and love as it is loved, ….” Knowing and known, loving and loved, Jesus Christ Our Lord, who is God above all, blessed for ever. Amen.