Sunday, June 26, 2011

Worship, Serve, Govern -- Corpus Christi


Today is a fine day to be a member of the Body of Christ -- The Solemnity of Corpus Christi. The Body of Christ does three distinct things: it worships, it spreads the Kingdom and it governs in faith. It lives in and shares in the Offices of Christ as priest, prophet and king. These are wondrous and remarkable gifts that set us apart from everyone and everything, yet mysteriously joins us to all humanity.

When we worship, we offer all creation back to God. The Body of Christ humbles itself and submits to the Father. The Holy Mass reminds us of who we are in relation to God; we are the Body of Christ by adoption through the merits of Christ Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection. As we enter into the Sacrifice of the Mass we acknowledge our sinfulness and ask for pardon and peace, setting the stage for us to enter fully and devotedly the Paschal Mystery, the Holy Banquet, the Re-presentation of Calvary. We give thanks and praise for the restoration of mankind to the Father; we give thanks for the many gifts He has given us; we give thanks for the great and holy gift of Christ Himself on the Altar, the Perfect Victim. We give thanks and praise.

When we are sent out in the final prayer -- Go forth to love and serve the Lord -- the Body of Christ is animated. We become the hands and the feet, the voice and the expression of Christ Jesus. We receive the commissioning to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, to every corner. We are given a mission to serve. Just like the Apostles were sent to make disciples of all nations, our mission in the laity as the Body of Christ is to be a witness to Him in the society, in the culture and in the family. We need to live different lives, as Pope Benedict XVI has said. We are different because we are the animated Body of Christ in spreading the Gospel so all men may be saved. We serve.

There is in all men a touch of rebellion, that angst that tugs as a result of a fallen nature. And in governing, we must recognize that the Body of Christ is first self-masterful. And this is by far the most important piece of being the Body of Christ. Before we can serve, before we can thank and praise God for His love, we must first get control of the Body. Like a baby learning to walk and talk, we will stumble and babble for a while until, well practiced, we begin to run marathons and give orations. Discipline is the key to success here. The Body of Christ must remain a fine tuned organism -- self-mastery ensures that in us there is not cancerous part of the Body that must be cut away. And in the soul search for such mastery, we may find that we do need to seek confession for a bad habit or a mortal wound that compromises the health of the Body. We must know ourselves well enough to be able to avoid the near occasion of sin -- to keep the Body whole and intact. Then, when we know that our own souls are reasonably healthy from the practice of obedience and self-discipline -- the vitamins of the soul -- we can think about  worshiping well and serving well and showing others how to begin to discover the wonder of being the Body of Christ by self-governing.

Vitamins, of course, are never enough to provide proper nourishment to the body. So, too for the Body of Christ. It must be fed, nurtured and cared for -- it must partake of the Food from Heaven and be lifted by the Word of God. And so the mystery unfolds before us. The Body of Christ receives the Eucharistic Food and guidance of the Word to keep it alive, to keep it able to function in worship, service and mastery.

As the Monstrance was processed around the exterior of the Church today with hundreds following in prayerful meditation of the Rosary, the unified Body of Christ ebbed and arched Its way along to each altar. I couldn't help but pray to the Father that as we knelt before the altar visible from the road that someone, anyone, who passed by would take notice of the worship, service and mastery of the Body of Christ. It was a beautiful thing to behold; It was a beautiful thing to BE.

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