Sunday marks one last big Solemnity: The Body and Blood of Christ, or as we used to call it, Corpus Christi. This is truly a universal celebration that spans times, places, and cultures. Always there has been the bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ.
I have celebrated the Eucharist in convents, monasteries, and innumerable parish churches around the country. I joined with congregations in Canada, France, Germany and Rome. Though I could not understand the language, I knew what was going on.it was exactly what I did this morning at St. Paul’s retirement community. I joined with the men and women of the Air Force Academy and Peterson AFB in Colorado, and to this day I still grin at the snappy, no-nonsense way those folks responded to things such as “The Lord be with you.”
I’ve joined families and small communities in their homes and at retreat houses, plus my own family’s homes, and have sat around a campfire at a camping ground, listening to the Word of God and praying the Eucharistic Prayer. Fr. Bill Dorwart, CSC, a Navy Chaplain, says Mass aboard the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, andother military chaplains say Mass in the field. Our CSC missionaries in Africa, South America, Mexico, India and Bangladesh consecrate the bread and wine in simple churches or village huts.
The Eucharist unites us with our loved ones who have died, plus all the saints and sinners that have populated the Church through the ages, for they also partook of the Body and Blood of Christ. Only at the Eucharist can a bank president sit by the Vietnamese housekeeper and receive the exact same food and drink. Young, old and middle-aged.laborers, stay at home Momsexecutivespoliticiansprisonersthe frail elderlyand everyone receives it witht eh exact same prayer: “Lord I am not worthy”
I’ll tell you, I absolutely love distributing the Eucharist because I see the real Catholic Church in all it diversity. Touching hands as I place the host, I feel the callouses, the dryness, the smoothness, the wrinkledness.and yes, the faith, hope and love.
Always there has been the bread and wine.always
Much love, and many prayers.