I want us to ponder a question this week: What do you consider holy in your life?
Not what should be holy, but what is holy, as evidenced by your actions, choices, and attitudes?
Is it the National Anthem at the stadium? The Ravens? Golf? Your vacation? The “man cave”?
The concept of “holiness” as we understand it in our Judeo-Christian mindset goes back to a sense of something being “set apart.” As God chose Israel to be His “special” People, it wasn’t because they were holy in themselves (the Old Testament would be a lot shorter if that was the case!); rather, they were set apart in order to be noticed and to be exemplary. Others were supposed to see God’s People and be reminded of Him and His love and pursue God themselves.
What is that special in our lives? What do we make time for? What do we treat differently than other things?
There is nothing wrong with revering our nation, or enjoying your golf, or relaxing in your man cave (happy Fathers Day, by the way!). However, those things that we would agree should be holy – do we treat them as special and set apart?
Today, we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Corpus Christi. This is a feast, established in the 13th century, that honors and recognizes the great Gift of the Eucharist, given to us by Jesus Himself. As Christ says, “my flesh is true food … my blood is true drink.” No metaphor there. It is. St. Paul reminds the Corinthians: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”
The Eucharist is Jesus; and Jesus is God; therefore, the in Eucharist, we touch God! This Eucharist that we celebrate is the most holy thing in the entire universe!
Do our actions, choices, and attitudes reflect that holiness?
When we come to church, is it a matter of “I had nothing else conflicting with Mass this weekend,” or is this celebration the center of our life? As we prepare to come and receive Jesus, do we consider the state of dress that we wear, or will any old outfit do, and “they should be happy that I’m there”? Additionally, do we consider the state of our souls? If we are conscious of serious sin, we should first be reconciled before receiving, or refrain until we can. This is the holiest thing in the universe!
As we approach the altar to receive, are we aware of Jesus waiting to come to us, or are we checking each other out, saying hello, or chewing gum? When we receive, are we enthroning the Lord of all Creation, or snatching something that we “deserve”? This isn’t a matter of Communion on the tongue or in the hand; it’s a matter of attitude toward the holiest thing in the universe.
I don’t bring these things up to shame anyone. We are all unworthy of Jesus’ greatest Gift. However, I bring them up to guide our reflection on this Gift: the Body and Blood of Christ. Also, I want us all to evaluate those things that, by our actions, we show to be “holy” in our lives. Are they? Should they be? And if they are, why not apply that also to our Mass experience?
Today, we will touch the holiest thing in the universe. May we always be aware of Jesus’ love for us, reflected in this greatest Gift ever given.