This time last year we were celebrating Corpus Christi differently than we are today. We have been through a lot over this past year and a few months. One of the good things that has come from the experience we’ve been through is that we have seen how clinging to Christ and prayer can really be of help to keep us “together”. I can’t tell you the number of people who have expressed their thanks for our livestream Masses—that it was a life line and helped people navigate some perilous waters.
So, as things get more and more back to normal, there’s something we have to keep in mind. We all know that in times of trouble we find ourselves more easily drawn to prayer than we do when life is going our way. While we are filled with fear and anxiety we are drawn to Christ, but when we have sensed an answer to our prayers, and the tension eases, we can also begin to develop less of a desire to pray and to be near the Lord. Although we have made promises to stay faithful, we begin to find ourselves slowly drift back to the old ways. It’s as if we are saying to Christ, “Thanks for everything, now you can go back into your magic lamp till next time.”
But that’s not what Jesus is asking of us. He’s encouraging us to move forward in faith, not backward. If you’ve discovered over this past year that Christ indeed has a place in your life, then you have to be willing to ask the next question, which is: Lord, where do I go from here? What do you want to do with this new-found need for you? Remember, whenever the Lord gives us a grace, he wants us to do something with this gift!
I remember last year we were focusing on that very beautiful prayer a person prays when they want to receive the Eucharist, but are unable. Andrew’s beautiful setting has really enhanced that meaningful text. Those words express a longing: “And I desire to receive you into my soul…” We will hear those words again at Mass this morning, and we will continue to pray that prayer for those who are longing to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, but are not yet able.
However, for those who are able, perhaps Christ is calling you to fulfill the longing that the prayer expresses by coming back to Church to receive the gift in person.
In the Gospel, Jesus gives instruction to two of the disciples regarding the preparation of the Passover (which for us is the Eucharist): “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him…then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready…” Follow the man carrying a jar of water….follow.
Close your eyes for a moment and picture this action. Put yourself in the scene: We set off behind a Water-Bearer, following him bewilderedly down unfamiliar passageways, arriving finally at an unknown destination in a neighborhood we’ve never seen before. But once we climb the stairs to the Upper Room, we realize where we are: finally at home with God where we belong.
So the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is about an invitation to follow the Water-Bearer who is really Jesus himself. This feast has always been about invitation, but even more so this year! Walking down unfamiliar passageways is what a life of faith is all about. But we will be protected, and once we reach the destination we will realize that we have indeed come home.