Each year, as the Church celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi, we are given a chance to reflect on the nature of the Eucharist, and it’s importance in our lives. In some ways, it seems strange to reflect on the importance of the Eucharist, when we find ourselves at this point in time, when the majority of the faithful cannot receive the Eucharist.
However, even in the midst of this shutdown, I think we still have an opportunity to reflect on the Body of Christ: or rather, what it means to be the Body of Christ. St. Augustine once said that when we receive the Eucharist, we become what we receive- we become Body of Christ on earth.
As we consider St. Augustine’s words, we are challenged to ask ourselves how we, in our day to day lives have been Christ to others. We are also called to recognize those times that we have failed to be Christ to others: in our words, in our actions, and in our failure to love, just as Christ loved us.
The news this week out of British Columbia has shown us what can happen when people of faith fail to truly be Christ to others. When we hear news like this, It’s easy to become enraged at what others have done: to demand apologies, issue statements, and see this tragedy as a problem that “someone else” needs to fix. And while formal acknowledgements and apologies can be an important beginning to the process of healing, they are just that: a beginning. It takes a lot more courage, and dare I say a lot more humility, to look beyond the institution, and to look at ourselves, and our own attitudes and behaviours. Are their negative attitudes about other people present in our hearts? What do we need to change in our own lives, so that we do not continue to perpetuate the same mistakes others have made in the past? Unless we are willing to do this examination of conscience, We will never be able to move beyond the initial apology and achieve real change. The words are ultimately meaningless unless we are willing to back them up with actions.
As we meditate on the Lord’s giving of his Body and Blood to us in the Eucharist, May we also reflect on our call to go out and be Christ to others. May we ask our Lord to soften hearts that are hardened, and to help us to truly love others, just as he commanded us to do.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB