The Feast of Corpus Christi
Everything that we have is a gift from God. Most of us know that but in the hectic lives that we live we are not always as conscious of that reality as we should be. Among the gifts that God has given us, the greatest is his Divine Son who assumed human nature in order to deal with us in a way that we could grasp and understand. His Son, our Savior, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, whom we call Jesus of Nazareth, continued the process of giving when, on the night before he was to die, he gathered with his apostles in the upper room. In that upper room, he gave the apostles and all who would come after them in faith the gift of his continued presence, the Body of Christ, the Holy Eucharist.
Simple words, simple actions, awesome and unbelievable implications. Taking a loaf of bread and then a goblet of wine, Jesus of Nazareth looked around at those that followed him for the last three years and said THIS IS MY BODY. A moment later, with the goblet, he said THIS IS MY BLOOD. With those words, from his infinite presence, he gave first to the apostles, and then to all who would come after them, a way of intimacy and continued presence that was unimaginable before.
Did you receive communion the other day? When that occurred you were one with Jesus and you can say with St. Paul, “I live not I but Christ lives in me.”
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We are living through an extraordinary period of expanding the capacity of human knowledge. Awesome scientific advances, space exploration and the expansion of our ability to reach out beyond ourselves continues at an extraordinary rate. What we used to call “our” universe is now just our neighborhood and we are now able to go beyond from universe to universe. I must frankly admit that when it comes to talk about the speed of light and the distances that we know about in the world around us is so awesome that I simply cannot say that I really grasp it. Maybe you have the same problem. As long as there is something out there that can be identified and measured, we are not dealing with the real concept of mystery but just objective reality that we have a hard time fitting into our imagination. Thank God for our scientists we are moving forward.
In view of the limitations of laymen like myself in terms of grasping the realities of space (for example, why doesn’t the sun consume itself?), we should not be so surprised when we come face to face with other concepts that our minds simply cannot grasp. People of faith who believe that there is an awesome reality beyond the created universe, namely the Creator, are able with real humility to simply admit the limitations both of the human brain and of mind. The mind is an awesome gift and enables us to reach beyond the material and tap into the ultimate meaning, the ultimate reality, of creation and our participation in it.
Today, we are celebrating one of the great mysteries of the Christian community. We pay honor to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth, while he was here, proved that he was truly a real human being and, at the same time, taught us that he had come to us from the inner nature of God. Then he went on to tell us that this inner nature involves a Triune reality – the Father, the Son and the Spirit. It is very easy for me to write this in a few paragraphs but my mind cannot grasp it. However, I believe that the second person of the Blessed Trinity, in sharing in divine nature, reached us through the vehicle of a human nature and has given us information about the inner-life of God that our limited human mind cannot completely grasp. However, I believe!
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Fr. Dan Kennedy http://tinyurl.com/6nw7hmn
“Laughter is the best medicine.” Frequently, my mother told me that when I was young and I know that the medical world has documented the truth of that principle, suggesting that frequent laughter promotes mental and physical health. In view of that, I think that the clergy, especially Catholic priests, should laugh more.
I have been to Rome quite a few times and crossing the Piazza in front of St. Peter’s, I was always struck by the passage of priests in black cassocks and black briefcases striding rapidly across the area with stern frowns on their faces. I would frequently make it a point to say to one of them as we passed, “Hi there, Father. I hope you are having a good day.” The usual reaction was startlement or irritation.
The world is filled with problems and suffering but the followers of Jesus Christ know that ultimately the power of God will triumph. We start with the fact that the human family has been redeemed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and we should all exude joy, laughter and optimism. I realize that we all have different dispositions and some of us are prone to see the darker side of things but such people should resist and concentrate on the world of God, blue skies, beautiful children, scenic mountains and the fact that our relatives will soon be returning home.
Three thousand years ago, the psalmist called us to joy saying,
Rejoice in the Lord you who are just,
praise is fitting for the upright.
Give thanks to God on the harp and lyre
making melody and chanting praise.
Amid loud shouts of joy
sing to God a new song
and play the ten-stringed harp (Psalm 33:1-3)
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Do you like to be on the inside of secrets? Almost everyone does. Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity and on this day we mark the fact that Jesus of Nazareth let all of us in on an awesome secret, more accurately a mystery. In some limited sense, our Lord drew back the veil between ourselves and the God that we worship and gave us an insight into the inner life of God.
That insight flows from the fact that Jesus repeatedly talked about strange and wonderful things about the inner life of God. The early Church remembers that Jesus occasionally talked about two mysterious aspects of himself. First, that he is one with the Father and secondly, that he is distinct from the Father and finally, that he has come forth from the Father. Later on, he will mention that he, in union with the Father, will send the Holy Spirit to dwell among us.
So you have the reality that in the infinite mysteriousness of divinity there are relationships that are very real but very distinct, and for lack of better words we call one Father, one the Son and the third is the Spirit. These are relationships that are so real that in English we inadequately refer to them as “persons.” All of this is very difficult for us. The human mind cannot think in the abstract completely. We invariably have to attach something material, something that can be measured to an abstract concept and so artists sometimes depicted the Father as a strong, gray-headed, old man sitting on the throne, whereas the Son is depicted as a healthy, white male. The Spirit had its own symbol, the dove, but is far less indicative of power. There is nothing wrong with using these symbols to symbolize one or the other divine relationships within God, but we clearly understand that these images do not in any manner adequately describe any one of those relationships.
We should not be made insecure by the fact that our finite brains cannot fully grasp the inner mystery of God. Unlike God, our brains are limited….boy are they limited!
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Tomorrow the liturgy of the Catholic Church will draw its readings from the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time and we will take a look at the Gospel. Sunday is also Father’s Day in the United States. Moreover, for African Americans in Texas Sunday is also “Juneteenth,” a colloquial way that has been used to describe this important day in Texas Black history. Though the Civil War ended earlier in the spring in 1865, it was not until June 19th that officers of the United States Army came into Texas and informed the former slaves that they were now free. It would be easy to express a few opinions on each one of these topics but I think I will try to pull them all together and say a few words about Black Catholic fathers.
The Gospel drawn from the eighth chapter of Luke talks about the sacrifice and sufferings that Jesus would undergo for our benefit. Tomorrow, most American families will try to find some way to honor their fathers, grandfathers or father figures in the family. I believe that African American fathers need to be celebrated in a very special way as they have experienced suffering and pain which in no way stopped with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.
Regretfully, the traditional family has been under severe attack in America for a good many years and Blacks have suffered in this process more than any other group in American society. There is a wonderful movement within the Black community to help fathers more effectively fulfill their responsibilities to their families and being concerned about their children’s health and education, but, more importantly, to be able to be examples to their children of good moral living and the ability to sacrifice and live for others. Let’s pray for the fathers who preside over families that are centers of faith, harmony, love and generosity.
Let’s pray for all fathers today but in a very special way let’s pray for the great work being done in Black Christian families.
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