St. Agatha’s Invites You to “Mass on the Boulevard”
Sunday July 10
Old St. Pat’s Sharing Parish Partner and North Lawndale Pentecost Initiative
Just a Thought…
Just like last week with Trinity Sunday, today is another one of those “idea” feasts that somewhere in our Catholic history (actually in 1246 under Pope Urban to be exact) Corpus Christi or The Body and Blood of Christ became a part of our Liturgical calendar. Corpus Christi, as it was fi rst known, was established as a way of highlighting and celebrating the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Characteristic of this unique Solemnity were the elaborate processions with the Eucharist that would take place on this day. I think the reason this “idea” feast was established was to somehow protect and strengthen both our understanding and our belief in what has become a central part of our Catholic life. In a time when perhaps there were questions, doubts, and confusion about what we actually believed with respect to the Real Presence in the Eucharist, what better way to reinforce one’s understanding than to create an elaborate procession and a more public display of Eucharistic devotion.
When I think about a “Eucharistic procession” or celebrating the Real Presence today, I think about the beautiful, exquisite ways we gather in this sacred place and celebrate with inspired energy and great devotion the Presence of Christ found in the meal we share, the Word we break open, the music we sing, the people who are around us, and when we are sent into the world to proclaim and live the mysteries of faith. When I think about the Body of Christ, I think about the many ways we experience the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus each and every day in our lives. When I think about the Body of Christ and what we celebrate at the altar, I think of how that is made manifest not only in the bread and wine made holy through our prayer, but I also think about the many other tables/altars where the reality of God’s presence is revealed in the stories of human life.
When I think about the Body of Christ, I just look to the past week as a way of being reminded of the beauty and challenge, the blessing and the brokenness of Presence in Holy Communion. As I gather at the Lord’s Table with you today, I think about the other tables where I found myself this week: In the home of Patty and David Kovacs with our mutual friend, Rabbi Chava, celebrating the grace-fi lled interreligious reality that is Old St. Pat’s; At a restaurant in Wicker Park with Kerry and Chris whose wedding I presided at last year and hearing the joys of married life and the struggles of being young professionals; At the home of some friends and looking across the table at the broken heart of my friend, a successful banker and bread-winner, yet out of work still for more than a year and a half; At the table with my parents in the home where I grew up, watching the effects of aging take its toll on failing bodies; At a hospital in Downers Grove with a grieving young couple experiencing the worst of brokenness in the death of their fi ve-month old baby who had been in the NICU since her January birth.
Yes, there is blessing and brokenness all around us and we walk into it every day. Today on this Solemn Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we come to give thanks to the Risen One whose Presence is with us not only in the sacred meal we share, but also in the people and experiences we encounter as we are sent from this place into the reality of our world.
Enjoy the summer, IF it ever comes this year!
Fr. Tom Hurley