By way of reminder, many of us know enough about Latin that Corpus Christi translates into the Body of Christ. Today, we celebratethe Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Further, for us as Catholics, we know that each of the seven Sacraments define and distinguish usfrom other Christian denominations. We also know that we make a big deal about Corpus Christi, and justifiably so. Our Catholic faithprovides us the privilege of receiving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity into our very own bodieseach and every time we celebrate the Eucharist.
Now, a personal story. Two and half weeks ago I discovered the fire in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. As the minutesrolled on, and the damage seemed to be more from smoke than fire, I was coming to awareness about the scope of the damage. However, and this is a BIG however, several of the firefighters reported to me that there was also some of our goods tossed about insome of the areas of the church. As these reports continued, there was a realization among some that we were not only experiencingfire damage, we were also part of a crime scene. At that point, access to the church became very limited so as to preserve anyevidence for the investigation. Honestly, in the midst of all of this, I became ever more concerned about Our Lord. Partly because Iheard that some “hosts” were scattered about, and partly because I could not get into the Church to check on the well -being of OurLord (as if He needs my help – He is the Savior of the world after all). And yet, I was becoming more anxious about how I was going tocare for Corpus Christi.
The minutes turned to hours. Then, later in the afternoon, the Special Agent from the State of Wisconsin Department of JusticeDivision of Criminal Investigation asked me to enter the Sacristy to identify the pre-existing condition of some possible evidence. During that brief escorted visit, I did see some hosts on the floor in the Sacristy (along with some other items) and seemed to concludein my mind that these “hosts” were not hosts, but rather unconsecrated altar breads. As the hours turned to evening, a Deputy from theBuffalo County Sheriff’s Department went through the church with me to secure the building for the night. Believe me, I was REALLYrelieved to discover that the tabernacle was not opened and there were no hosts, or anything for that matter, scattered in the Sanctuary(altar area) of the church.
My memory seems to recall that, after some of the devastating reality set in, I went into the church on Thursday to take the Sacramentout of the Tabernacle. The key was where we store it, and Corpus Christi inside the tabernacle was not touched. In fact, I was able toremove a light layer of soot from the ciborium cover, and the linen inside the tabernacle had a clearly defined mark to where theciborium sat during the fire. So, Corpus Christi was safe all the while.
Now, of course, of all things in any of our churches, I hope you share with me our greatest concern for who is at the center of all wedo… Corpus Christi. So many of our Catholic devotions and practices surround Him. My hope is that as you reflect upon my sharedexperience, you take the opportunity to rediscover the real presence of Jesus. That reflection ought to inspire us to deepen ourrelationship with the One who has, and continues, to come to us. Each time we celebrate Mass, we pray: Through Him, With Him andIn Him. Those words prove to be regular reminders of the core of our faith. Each moment of our life we live through Him. Jesuschooses to dwell with us which causes us to live with Him. And, because He promises to send the Holy Spirit to guide us, we arealways dwelling in His presence. These realities, which we reflected upon the past two Sundays, define the core of our relationshipwith Corpus Christi and His desire to have a relationship with us.
My hope is that Corpus Christi this weekend assists you to concentrate on Him, rather than on my experience. Each priest is calledfrom among many to be the instruments that bring Jesus to us. Priests, and all Catholics, are reminded constantly to concentrate onour relationship with the Lord and continue to invite Him to deepen His relationship with us. Through our devotion, openness andprayer, we continue to do what we do as Catholics. Our lived experience helps each of us to be good custodians of Our Lordindividually and collectively so that we and future generations will come to live with Him forever.BACK TO LIST