I write this while sitting in West Palm Beach airport with a 3 3/4 hour delay on my flight. They say it is because of severe weather but from what I can gather the weather at JFK is perfect. So here I sit with close to three more hours to go, and I've been here an hour and a half already. Nothing much I can do about it so I thought I would write some reflections.
Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. It is one of my favorite feasts and I was hoping to hear a really good homily at Mass this morning. I was greatly disappointed. Granted the priest was old but there was absolutely no meat in the homily. I don't think it was necessary to explain why the sanctuary light is there, but maybe there are people at Mass who don't know that, however I highly doubt it. And I can easily look up the origins of the feast, in fact I think he took his information straight off Wikipedia.
The reality of the Eucharist is such a great gift that Our Lord gave to us; His very Body and Blood that we take into our bodies. The great beauty of the Eucharist is expressed in the words of St. Augustine; "Behold what you are, become what you receive." Through our baptism we are part of the Body of Christ, we are members of His Body and He is the Head. The parts of the body can do nothing without the head, so too we are nothing without our Lord. Each time we receive Jesus we are transformed "more deeply" to borrow Bishop Murphy's term, into His Body. Yet it seems that so many people are unaware of this reality. It seems that to many, reception of Jesus in Holy Communion is just something you do at Church because, well, it's expected. When I did my doctoral project on First Holy Communion, a number of parents wrote in the survey I conducted that they didn't believe the Eucharist was the real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus, but they want their children to receive First Holy Communion because it is expected as Catholics. It doesn't matter that they don't go to Mass regularly, not to even mention confession. I wonder if they understood what St. Augustine wrote if they would act differently. I pray that they will be open to this great gift and allow Jesus to touch their hearts.
When I hear stories of why people convert to Catholicism, so many times it is because of the Eucharist. The thought of truly receiving Jesus somehow touched something inside of them and drew them closer and closer to Catholicism and deeper into their relationship with Christ.
I wish there was something I could say to the parents and students in my religious education program that would convince them that receiving Jesus every Sunday gives them ultimately so much more than they can imagine. The Eucharist is food for the soul. For me, it is what keeps me going. The days that I don't go to Mass and receive communion are days that I feel incomplete.