From the Pastor's Pen
Last Sunday was the great feast of Corpus Christi, or The Body of Christ in English— now accurately listed as the Feast of the Body And Blood of Christ. It ends the Sunday feasts that follow the Easter Season (which ended with Pentecost). It was the occasion again for the Corpus Christi Procession by our North County Deanery parishes, at which Deacon Bill read the gospel to begin at Sacred Heart Church.
It triggered me this year to look at the effect that receiving the Eucharist has on us—or may not. We’ve been trained for the proper preparation before receiving Communion; and of course we know that the Eucharist is a gift of love and sharing. But I don’t think we’ve gotten too much about the obligations on us afterward because we’ve received communion.
Awhile back I had a cassette tape by a noted speaker called “The Ethical Demands of the Eucharist”. This talk sharpened me up on this. St. Paul says clearly that he was scandalized that some, who may be wealthy, would receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and then let others go hungry after Mass. He said that those people would have been better not to receive Communion at all! Because it could be a kind of curse on them, rather than a blessing. (1Cor) So it seems there are ethical demands along with receiving the Eucharist. We are to take our holiness in that moment with the Lord, into concrete service and love, so that all may be one, and to further the coming of the kingdom on earth.
So our individual local celebration of the Body and Blood are each important. I get questions from time to time about “just when do we have to get to Mass for it to ‘count’ ?” The Mass begins with the ministers and priest entering. Lives are hectic now, and we do the best we can. We just shouldn’t think it “doesn’t matter when we get there”. Similarly, some get Communion and then leave right out. These have not attended Mass, as the dismissal “Go in Peace the Mass has ended” is where the very word “Mass” comes from. This is not meant to question having “fulfilled one’s obligation”, but we’re there for more than that. The Body and Blood of Christ demands it. It’s a good feast to sharpen our reverence in many ways.