Sunday, June 6, 2010

Say the Word (6 June 2010, Corpus Christi)

This is my homily for Sunday 6 June July 2010, Corpus Christi. On-campus Mass at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Teaneck, NJ resumes 7:30 p.m. Sunday August 29 for the 2010-2011 school year. I am the Catholic chaplain for the community and FDU Newman Catholic Association.

[__01.] Today is Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. And, the Good News today is that all in the crowd were served and satisfied.

Such service is how it turns out in the end. However, at first, after a long day, Peter, the Apostles, the Twelve do not want to satisfy the crowd, only themselves.

They are talking about the crowd's departure. We might re-state their words to Jesus as:

“Lord, they are not worthy to receive you - but only say the word and they shall … leave.”

The Twelve want to dismiss the crowd, to send them home. Peter and the apostles have other plans, perhaps reservations.

[__02.] What Jesus does is shake up their plans with a tentative assumption meant to draw out and test their logic, faith, service..

"Give them some food yourselves. "

This meant to arouse their minds and hearts of Peter and the apostles.

[__03.] Jesus first wants to know – do you, Peter, the Twelve even care for the crowd? The 5,000 – or even any one of the 5,000?

By your words you express concern for their welfare, their hunger, their ability to buy food, all before nightfall.

But, in your heart, are you really more concerned about your welfare, your hunger, your ability to buy food, all before last call?

The 12 are asked to stay on after a regular day’s work, to do a little extra.

Are you and I?

[__04.] For example, do we encounter the illness of a family member or loved one or the young child who needs our attention? Or, the person’s needs which have increased or changed.

With such challenges, we might also want to dismiss the crowd, avoid the crowd, or de-personalize the crowd.

One thing we might say about someone in need is – “well, you know, he or she is really not the same person anymore.” That’s one way to avoid responsibility.

He or she needs something that I cannot provide it; and, it’s getting dark now.

[__05.] A challenge implied in our Holy Communion is recognizing the union that we have in Christ.

To accept the extra burden, the burden of someone who needs us, rather than dismissing the crowd, letting them stay.

But what our Lord is telling the Twelve of them --- and the Twelve of us --- is that we will find our union with him, in the crowd and our happiness too by feeding the hungry person, the sick person … even the unattractive person … the person who seems not to be the same.

In the case of illness and age, a person we love perhaps has experienced a change in temperament or energy level or sleep pattern, our faith in Holy Communion tells us that he or she is still the same person.

[__06.] Someone whom I can love here and now.

Jesus is also telling the Twelve - to stay here for the blessing. To stay for the blessing so that the bread will be multiplied, so that the good work you and I do will also be multiplied.

Stay here and I will feed you and bless you and change you in to my body and blood.

What Jesus needs is for us to distribute his love, his Communion, his charity … and, especially for those in need, to pick up the fragments, the pieces left over which will form the one whole Body of Christ.

For he says the word and we all shall be healed. [__end__]

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