Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday word, 18 Jun 17

Solemnity of the Body & Blood of Christ A (22 Jun 2014)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Participation for Mission
Today’s celebration is named the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus. Yet we celebrate more than flesh and blood. We celebrate his person not parts of him; when we are with another we sense that more is present than physical parts. Each of us is a mystery that way.

The mystery of Jesus is richer: he continues to give himself for us; in word and sacrament he is more present to us by his spirit; he invites us to share his life in action; he is the sacrament uniting us and holding us together as his body.

Risen Jesus’ continual giving and nourishing; being present to us in an abiding way; inviting us to share his life in action; his uniting each of us to himself and all of us as his body. Giving, being present, inviting us to join his reconciling project, uniting and holding us together mean we celebrate an event as well. The event is sharing life.

Sharing life with others has always challenged. St. Paul was aware of that. Inviting people into the body of risen Jesus was more than personal salvation. His favoured image, one body exceeds personal salvation. One body equals risen Jesus and all his friends in every age.

Many Corinthian Christians—as do many Christians since—were more comfortable with personal salvation than with being one body, risen Jesus’ on mission. Yes, St. Paul’s time and culture and ours differ dramatically. Yet the way people choose to associate with others today is remarkably similar. Corinth was a large city. It was home to a mix of people largely because it was a port-city. It also was a gateway to the interior of its country. Sounds like cities and town of old in many provinces, doesn’t it? In both Corinth and our cities and towns—then and now—people freely associated with others; often similar interests united them.

Then and now: clubs, ancient and modern; guilds of workers practicing different crafts and using the same materials; people with similar tastes in art, music; athletes and soldiers; even the poor and sick. Then and now people with similar interests and people with different roles in society crisscrossed each other’s lives. Similar interests and needs caused people of different classes to rub shoulders.

Similar interests help us feel safe if we fear the unknown; if we distrust anything new; or if we only desire to be comfortable. We know that never to explore ensures a dull life; never to trust ensures no reward of deep satisfaction and growth; and to choose only comfort is a springboard to emotional and spiritual flabbiness. To associate only out of similar interests guarantees listless lives.

Good news exists despite all that. The good news St. Paul brought to Corinth then, the good news St. Paul offers us now is this: The person-event who is risen Jesus giving, being present, inviting us to join him reconciling, nourishing us, uniting and holding us together frees us to trust, to desire to grow more and to enjoy apostolic energy.

Precisely to these Pope Francis has urged the world church. They are not new to the church of his Argentina:
I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. …If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life.1
Jesus gives us himself for mission. We go out as his friends to extend to others the friendship we enjoy: “the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, [mediated anew by] a community of faith.”

By the eucharist we participate in risen Jesus; we grow intimately one with him and one another. As we partake in Jesus we participate in the lives of all people—not only as Jesus did but as risen Jesus does in sending us on his mission each day.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Ask our triune God to see yourself, others and the world as God sees.
  • Ask St. Paul to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with Jesus: praise him for dying and rising for you; share with Jesus your hunger for him, your desire to live from his mind and heart.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to participate in his person and his saving work with deep joy.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. The sacrament of Jesus’ body and blood transforms our request for our daily bread into power to become the one we receive: Jesus our Creator, our Redeemer, our Friend.
Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. His The Joy of the Gospel, 49. His first apostolic exhortation is a mission statement of his ministry as Bishop of Rome.

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