The Body and Blood of Christ
June 14, 2020
I came to the end of the aisle in the grocery store, and as I turned my cart to shop the next aisle, I had a head-on collision with a young woman who was “coming to where I was going.” Of course, we were both wearing masks. At the same time, we both said: “Excuse me.”
At that point, I said to her: “You can’t see it because of this mask …but I’m smiling.”
She immediately replied: “One of the worst things about these masks is that we can’t see each other‘s faces.”
Although it is great to be back celebrating Mass in our parish churches (even though only 25% of us are permitted to gather) still, there’s a feeling of sadness and regret when we look across the worship space at faces half-covered, our friends all but unrecognizable. Resuming some normal activities with face coverings is certainly better than a strict stay-at-home order. Nevertheless, there is something very unnatural and unsettling when we can’t see each other’s faces. Even though we are together, separated by a mere six feet, those few layers of cloth raise a barrier. During this pandemic, there is a definite sense of isolation, even when we are together. Things just are not natural.
Which brings us to our celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi. That first bad choice…the original sin…resulted in a barrier between the Creator and the created. Humankind could no longer see the full face of God. It was not what God intended at the beginning. The separation caused by sin left us with feelings of sadness, regret, and isolation. It simply was an unnatural state of being.
So, God tore off the Divine facemask by sending Jesus into this world…FLESH AND BLOOD…in a human body…just like ours…like us in all things but sin. Through Jesus Christ, people were once again able to see the full face of God. Tragically, only a few (not even 25%) recognized the infinite beauty that they were privileged to gaze upon.
Determined that humanity should not persist in a state of isolation, Jesus sacrificed His FLESH AND BLOOD on the Cross. The perfect sacrifice of Corpus Christi means that the full face of God will never again be concealed behind the mask of sin. And this is where discipleship comes into play.
Having returned to the place where He came from…the place we hope to be going to…we disciples are entrusted with the enormous responsibility and privilege of keeping the full face of God in view of the world (as best we can, that is). St. Teresa of Avila spells it out so well:
Christ has no body on earth now but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours;
yours are the eyes through which he looks
with compassion on the world;
yours are the feet with which he walks to do good;
ours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.”
Think of it this way: In Baptism, we have a head-on collision with Christ. Rather than simply exchanging pleasantries and going our separate ways, The Lord invites us to journey with Him, so that someday, we might arrive safely at that place where He came from…the place where He waits to greet us.
In Baptism, The Holy Spirit destroys all barriers between us and God. At the same time, we are “unmasked” so that others might see, through our faces, God smiling. Through Baptism, we become Corpus Christi…The Body and Blood of Christ.
Today is certainly about the Lord Jesus and all He has done for us. But, this Feast is also about us and about our duty and privilege of reflecting the full face of God to the world. When it comes to discipleship, there can be no stay-at-home orders.
We are called to go out into the world and put a smile on all of God’s handiwork. Even with cloth face coverings, we are commissioned and empowered to reflect the full face of God to everyone we happen to run into. PEACE!