Stewards of Christ’s Presence: the Body of Christ
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ). The feast celebrates who we are as a community of disciples and it remains a challenge for us as individuals and as a community, given our culture. Our culture tends to objectify things around us primarily for their instrumental value – that is how they can be used for our good or pleasure. My car is an object which is disposable at a certain point; my clothing is disposable at a certain point, either when the clothing wears out or goes out of style. Unfortunately, this not only happens with material objects, but occurs with people and in our relationships.
People can become mere means to an end or seen as having simple instrumental value. If someone wants to advance in a job, there are people who can be used in order to step further up the ladder – these persons become an instrument and object or my particular use. In a marriage, a spouse can fulfill a desire for intimacy or happiness for a period of time – an object or instrument of my fulfillment or need which can then be disposed of when no longer able to fulfill my immediate desires or even long range goals. The list can go on and on.
Today, we can reflect on St. Augustine who reminds us that “we are what we receive” in the Eucharist. We celebrate our life as a Eucharistic Community, for we are the Mystical Body of Christ. It is through our baptism that we are totally immersed into the life of Christ as God’s Beloved, and that immersion is deepened and intensified in the celebration of the Eucharist, continually transforming us into “that which we receive” – the Body of Christ. In Christ’s Spirit we are brought to life as God’s people, bringing our communal life toward a greater fulfillment.
You will notice that I speak of God’s people and our communal life. The emphasis is not on the “individualism” that characterizes our culture, but on that which we bring as individuals to the table of the Lord. We bring our own personalities, our own gifts and talents, however we place them on the altar (represented in the gifts of bread and wine) so that the Lord may take us (unique personalities, gifts and talents) and transform us – allowing us to become a real presence in the world of Christ’s love. Jesus the human face of God, continues the mission of His Father in the world, through the Mystical Body of Christ – the Church.
The Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, has a human face in you and in me. We love in the name of Christ, we heal the broken-hearted in the name of Christ, and we forgive in the name of Christ. All that we do as Church is in the name of Christ. It is the grace of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to do the work of Christ, not our own power or our own willfulness or our own designs. It is the love of God, through the grace of Jesus Christ and in the life of the Holy Spirit that we find our true meaning. We come to the table, knowing that we each have a place at the table – and then we ask the Lord to transform our lives individually and as a community, enabling us to “become what we eat.”