Homily of 3 June 2018
Exodus 24:3–8; Hebrews 9:11–15; Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
At the heart of over three thousand years of Jewish-Christian worship is one of the most basic human interactions – to gather to share a meal. A meal where the sharing creates a community and the community meal feeds our hunger for God, and the hunger is satisfied by God’s very self. At the Passover meal Jesus instituted the Eucharist, the sacrament of His body and blood, and gave us his life and love and we receive his great gift with gratitude.
Every Eucharist is a moment to grasp again our past our present and our future because every Eucharist calls us to all that Christ is for us. And we must seize the moment to be renewed in faith and energized to be who we are called to be in Christ and to further the reality of the Kingdom in the lives of every person.
We heard the words of our past and our present in the scriptures today. Moses sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice on the people said, this is the blood of the covenant and then in the words of Jesus himself, we touch our present, “This is my blood of the covenant which will be shed for many.” Blood is life and Jesus gives up his life-blood on the cross and again and again at Eucharist so we can have eternal life. As the Hebrews writer declared, Jesus is our High Priest, the Mediator of the New Covenant.
Eucharist is our experience of Christ as Savior and Lord. Eucharist awakens us to the reality of God’s love for us in Christ. Eucharist celebrates it and deepens it in our hearts, in our lives and it transforms us into a new creation, into the People of God. So, as we celebrate Eucharist today, as we receive Eucharist today, as we adore before the Eucharist today, Christ Jesus is calling us into our future. Into the future of all humanity, into the future of transformation, which is now, the present because we have Christ with us. And right here right now we realize that Eucharist is the healing of our wounds and the wounds of all humanity when we enter into the reality of the cross and resurrection: the turning point for all life and the new horizon, the new reality for all of humankind. Our sharing of Communion harkens the fulfillment of this new reality, our own resurrection, our own new life in him, by living now as his mystical body on earth.
We are of God. This is our dignity and our destiny: to live in God, to live in love. So, we are called then to live out of this reality, our deepest, truest reality. Eucharist helps us get in touch with it and live it. That is to give of ourselves and live as Christ did with a willingness to carry our cross following Christ into perfect love.
This means to live in boundless compassion for every person. When we do, we rediscover our role as his disciples. He is not asking us for spectacular acts that produces headlines, but courageous acts of humility, of hiddenness, that treat every person as another Christ. Remember Jesus’ words, “As often as you did it to the least of your brothers and sisters, you did it for me.“
What are the moments of compassion that Jesus invites you to emulate? Perhaps it is breaking down the barriers that color, race and religion can build in our hearts. Truly seeing each family member and community member as Christ among us. It is responding to the challenges facing our societies: accepting Muslims as our brothers and sisters, welcoming refugees into our communities, treating the gay community with dignity and equality. Making meaningful jobs and opportunities accessible to all, recognizing we belong to one another by sharing our resources and pursuing the rights of all to religious freedom, health care and the basic needs of housing and education. These are some of the works of a Eucharistic people. A people who know God and share the inheritance we have received from Christ. When we live Eucharist, we hold in balance all of humanity and the dignity, the beauty, the godliness of every person.
We stand in awe around the altar realizing with wonder the magnitude of this mystery. Jesus has brought each of us into a personal love relationship with God and Christ renews this life in us at every Eucharist. There we are healed at the depth of our souls, at the center of our hearts and we are no longer estranged from ourselves, but live with the truth of who we are and freed to live in love with Christ in God.
And we seek to bring this oneness to life in the world, in each person, in each community so that all may be one in Christ. That all will be welcomed at the Eucharistic table, and so all can come with their joys and sorrows to be nourished, to be consoled, to be forgiven, to become one with God and each other in the deepest way, in Christ who is for all. This oneness with God in Christ is the new covenant that we celebrate at every Eucharist and seek to live more deeply.
So, my brothers and sisters, this is our life as the Body of Christ. This is what we celebrate today and forever because Christ is life for us in every way.