..feast of Corpus Christi..the Body & Blood of Christ..listen to this.. “the Last Supper..the Eucharist..Jesus giving his life for us..this is as good as it gets” words of Pope Francis or our Bishop do you think?..too earthy too normal perhaps.. ..words/feelings of young practising Roman Catholic on how important being at Mass was for her, & she goes on to address her Parish Priest.. “ there is one thing missing..not all of the time but some of the time..where is your passion? where is the energy you gave your life for all those years ago?..
..for the times we take for granted / underestimate just what being here empowers, inspires & activates through us & in us, let us ask for Our Lords forgiveness.. “..send the people away” ..we are too tired or too busy.. ; Lord have mercy “..they can go to find lodging & food” ..self service on line.. ; Christ have mercy “..give them something to eat yourselves” ..& we plead poverty or age exemption.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..send the people away..they can go to find food for themselves” scheduled self service, self serving religion then & Catholicism now; muted silenced reverential devotional, in contrast to the risk adventure timelessness of the real encounter with the real person of Jesus; a Jesus who notice had “made them welcome, talked to them about the kingdom of God [not about the Church] & cured all those in need of healing”..involving welcome talk & healing..who welcomed you into Mass this evening/morning?..talked to you & began for you a time & a process of healing?..made you feel your presence would make all the difference to us at this Mass, & thereby for each & all of us this coming week?..thus far do you feel talked with or preached at?..will you leave in 25mins time feeling sufficiently heard loved fed & healed?.& to have an appetite /passion to come back here again next weekend rather than drift elsewhere, belonging for better or worse to this part of the Body of Christ from this day forward?..we prefer to retain our comfort zone & our Mass of convenience rather than stepping out to become world-changers, breadmakers, changing ordinary life & bread into the Body of Christ..& our response so far, perhaps a profession of inadequacy like first disciples “we have only five loaves & two fish”..we are unable unskilled & under-resourced..what can we do about it the 25/70 of you at this Mass? ..in face of such professed inadequacy which was to lead into a culture of dependency, bereft of mature interdependency/ shared initiative of our missionary discipleship, Jesus took over at helm again..with his disciples allowed to default..to return to safety predictability of their comfort zone as intermediaries, practising Catholics rather than missionary disciples..remember last Sunday?..share with you now story of a missionary disciple..met him 20yrs ago in Mountjoy Prison Dublin..visited him each Wed evg for year 730pm -9pm;19 doors to be opened/locked behind me by Prison Officer before I got to his cell; his name James RC; years since been to Church..married man two teenage sons ..second day in prison first letter from his wife; scanned it for 3key words instead 4 words “I want a divorce” you are weakest link goodbye..one night, me sitting on one chair, he on edge bed, asked to borrow my chair..put chair on bed, got up held onto bars round tiny window high up, pulled himself up, looked out said “Fr Bede, I can see a bridge & people walking across it..one day I will walk across that bridge”..another night noticed on bedside locker piece of apple pie on paper plate..In Ireland offence to have food in cell punishable with extra 2months in prison..halfway into evg he reached over handed me paper plate & pie.. ”I want you to have this Fr Bede” my first reaction was to refuse it..stolen from prison kitchen earlier in day..sneezed coughed over; would it taste like prison smelled?..mix of tobacco smoke urine drugs..I didn’t want it..& then jolt out of my comfort zone; loss of self control & risk to feel from heart rather than react from head..here was James offering me the only thing he had which he could give away as sign of his love for me..moth eaten piece of apple pie or a eucharist? ..I’d gone to visit him, to take Christ to him in welcome word & healing, & here now was James the priest offering me the Body of Christ..”do this in memory of me”..the welcome word & healing of a lifetime..& question I’m still often asked “did you eat the apple pie Fr Bede?” “they all ate as much as they wanted” & the baskets left over are still, years later, feeding those of you who,like me, still have the passion & an appetite for the miracle..for God’s greatest gift..”take this all of you & eat of it..”..tell the person you love most three key words often..have a dream to cross bridge from doubt to faith one day..& be ready for moment when someone comes into your life who needs your last piece of apple pie, in food or relationship; welcome the moment, bless it & give it..the Body of Christ feeding the Body of Christ..when you stop practising as Catholics & begin to believe in yourself & your real mission; to offer, from your own cell, real presence of Christ to those of us who seem to be well fed together fit & healthy.. & in reality are, like me, a weakest link..“in so far as you fed & loved one of these least brothers sisters, these monks of mine, you did it for me” [Corpus Christi Yr C Lk 9;11-17]