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Catholic Homilies
 June 14th 2009 A.D.
The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ Mk 12/14-16 22-26

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 Some liturgical purists don’t like this feast. It is medieval in origin and arose when people thought that the Eucharist as sacrament could be separated completely from the Eucharist as ceremony. The Mass as continuation of the Last Supper was thought to be almost completely distinct from the Body and Blood of Jesus. Thus today’s feast with its great processions and its marvelous hymns really ought to be phased out because it is not liturgically correct. However, it is the genius of Catholicism at its best to say “both  . . .and” instead of “either  . . .or.” We should say both the mass as our central worship and devotion to the Body and Blood of Christ as part of that central worship. There is no reason in principle why the feast cannot be integrated into our new understanding of the liturgy, no reason other than that some people find it very hard to say “both  . . .and.”

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 Once upon a time in a summer resort parish there was a deacon from the seminary who was assigned to help out during the summer rush. He was a nice enough young man, though a little shy and kind of conservative. On a very hot Sunday he lost his temper with the way people dressed. None of the men wore a coat and tie. None of the women wore dresses and stockings the adults came in shorts and polo shirts, the women even in sleeveless dresses. The kids appear in swim trucks and t shirts and bare feet, some of the teenage girls even wore t shirts over their binkinis. The young man shouted at them, have you no respect for the Body and Blood of Christ? How dare you desecrate the Eucharist with such inappropriate clothes? If you go out for dinner tonight, won’t you dress up for your hosts? If people should come to your house for dinner, wouldn’t you be deeply offended if they came in swim suits? Why shouldn’t God be offended by your lack of reverence? What makes you think that God’s house is a cabana on the beach? The people were a little surprised but they figured he didn’t really understand. Besides, they thought they had a lot of respect for the Body of Christ? They had come to receive it, had they not?  At supper that night the wise old monsignor (who appears frequently in these stories) said to him, you have a good point but have you ever gone to Mass in a church near a European resort? There’s hardly anyone there. At least our people come. They may look a little sloppy sometimes. Yet I believe that God loves them no matter how they’re dressed.

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