..feast of Corpus Christi ..the day we remember especially God’s greatest gift to us.. ..happens to be title of workbook our 6 young disciples & me have used for last 14wks as we prepare for First Holy Communion tomorrow..“God’s greatest gift” ..gift of Himself under the appearance of bread & wine.. a special weekend when we welcome God’s greatest gift to us in person, under the appearance of 6 very special young disciples ; Ernest Mariella Oscar Henrietta Oliver & Barney as they receive the body & blood of Christ for the first time.. 14wks of preparation where we’ve met each Sat morning at 9am for an hour, to get to know Jesus & each other from the inside.. & believe me they are now ready..hungry for Jesus.. for our moment at this Mass & every Mass, of honesty & contrition for times we injure family ourselves & the Body of Christ, I’d like to share with you some of our young disciples wisdom ..”we know how to say & to show we are sorry”..
“Jesus’ heart is in the bread & wine..the bread is his body..when you eat the bread his heart is in you..” ; : Lord have mercy “my best friend tells me everything” [ tell him; he knows already ] ; Christ have mercy “making sure I am fully part of Gods Catholic family..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“this is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules”..a covenant, a mutually binding agreement ,with the sting in the small print, the commands of the Lord written /chiselled in stone & handed to Moses, to be kept, to the letter of the Law, & woe betide anyone who broke rules..a covenant of force & fear “keep to the rules & you’re in, break rules & you’re out “ sheep & goat religion..it lives on..it lifelessly existed for over 3500yrs until few years ago when, inspired individuals re read small print under magnifying glass of Holy Spirit, where words came off page & into real life, into receptive warm hearts, where the one commandment was rediscovered.. “love one another”..love each & every one another, sheep & goat, especially scapegoat, your Judas..he/she keeps re emerging to the disturbance of some of us..we’d written him off, deleted him from Catholicism years ago as a traitor betrayer..& now someone is trying to re introduce him, redeem him, forgive the traitor, & to pardon the unforgivable ”is there an unforgivable sin?” ask my Yr 10 retreatants..& how would you respond to a young disciple struggling to make not common sense but divine sense of all she has been fed so far, at common table of our Catholicism “a communion of life love & truth” warm words describing our Catholicism but is it true?..as John Betjeman asks of Christmas..of a youngster who wrote to her Parish Priest in Ireland copying it to Irish religious periodical “the Mass, the Last Supper, Jesus giving his life for us..this is as good as it gets; but one thing is missing” she says to her PP..”where is your passion?..where is the energy you gave your life for all those years ago?”..& pray where is our passion?..is it defending the status quo?..“we’ve always done it this way”..or is it risking the adventure of walking on water?..our youngsters will try it believe me, if they can see the passion in your eyes, the fire in your heart, & your belief that you can, & have, walked on water..when did you last tell them about it?..tell them of the miracle, how an ordinary piece of bread & sip of wine becomes the body & blood of Christ..tell them how it emerged from empty rhetoric & cold practice of old days, where your parents were fed on strict diet & recitation of Mass, foreign in word, bereft of understanding..of cane of a Mon morning in front of Sr Dolores & 35 in class if you’d missed Sun Mass..& no reason would be valid enough..”do this in memory of me” & how now you can look our 6 young disciples in eye & convince them, from your own experience, that tomorrow morning they are to receive the real presence of Christ; a Jesus you love from bottom of your heart; the Jesus who regularly forgives your disgraceful faults & failings that you bring to Mass week in week out..& does he, like Moses, throw book & stone tablets at you?..or like father of prodigal, welcome you home with smile hug & the broken heart that died for you?..“a communion of life love & truth” ..is it? & is it real?..indeed it is, real presence, real you meeting real Jesus, in communion..everything in common, nothing either way that could ever divide you..I give you a new commandment “love one another”; St Leo giving Communion, “become what you receive, the Body of Christ”..in bread & wine, in real presence, him to you & you to him..& you & I to each other; you & I the Body of Christ, touching each others wounds, melting each others hardness of heart, healing the brokenness & pain that perhaps we’ve bandaged & hidden for years, afraid to be seen to be real & flawed, in a life a Mass a eucharist a communion of pretence..& now, through our 6 young disciples, this a feast of Corpus Christi & the presence of the Holy Spirit; an invitation to walk on water, to come home to a meal of lifetime, a celebration “this son/daughter of mine was lost & is found” best robe, ring, sandals, a homecoming, your own pair of slippers & a meal at this family dining table..“take it, this is my Body”..are those Jesus’ words to you as you’ve been led to believe all these years? or a phraseof love & intimacy you now offer to him?..poster in Christian bookshop shows boy fishing & caption reads..“give me a fish & I eat for a day; teach me to fish & I eat for a lifetime”..to our 6 youngsters I say, from me & hopefully from you..“thank you for teaching me how to fish”.. [Corpus Christi YrB Mk14;12-26]