Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why are we NOT different?

These weeks in the church hold hidden treasures for us: Pentecost, The Holy Trinity, The Body and Blood of Jesus. These feasts bring us from our celebration of Easter gently back into Ordinary Time.

Sometimes we realize what we value only when we have lost it. I feel like that when I ponder the great mystery that is the Eucharist. I say I believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but I really don't get overwhelmed by that truth on any particular Sunday.  The one day of the year I am startlingly aware of how deeply I believe this Eucharistic truth is on Good Friday. When I walk into the church on Good Friday every fiber of my being knows without looking that something is very different. Then I am humbled by how patient God is with me in the way I take my faith for granted.

A few years back I was at Mass where the celebrant was a friend of mine I had gone to visit. It happened to be the weekend we celebrate "Corpus Christi", (the Feast of the Body and Blood, NOT the city in Texas!!)

I still remember his words that afternoon, and how they blew me away. As his words live in my memory this is what I recall he said, quite forcefully I might add:

"If we say we believe that this Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus, if we receive this communion into our selves week after week, year after can we NOT be different? How can we NOT be changed by God's very presence within us, closest to our hearts? Why are we not different people? What are we afraid of? Why do we refuse to let the Eucharist change us?"

In that moment, and still today, the truth stings a little, the Eucharist is meant to change us! We are supposed to be different! Different how? Oh, I don't know, stronger, braver, kinder, more loving, more patient...we could go on right?

I've been thinking about our newly Blessed Oscar Romero. How lucky we are to add him to our roster of holy ones. Much like St Peter, he is one of the ideal models of the power of change. I was young and idealistic like most college kids when I first learned about Bishop Romero after his murder in El Salvador. What an impact that had on me. I am still in awe of his ability to turn his life around, his conversion if you will, from a Bishop who supported the status quo in a poor little country, to a man who would bravely stand with and for his people and their basic human rights, even in the very face of death. That he was murdered while at the Eucharist itself seems so profound to me still.

Bishop Romero let the Eucharist change him forever. I want to let the Eucharist change me always. I need to pay attention to allow that to happen. In a world that swirls around me at such a frantic pace, I need, for those moments when I come to the table with you, my sisters and brothers, I need to let myself be changed by Jesus. I think that would just be amazing. I pray that we will all be changed by this amazing gift of the Body and Blood of our Lord.

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