YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (CORPUS CHRISTI)
HOMILY THEME: “He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it
to them. ‘Take this,’ He said, ‘this is my body.’ He likewise took a cup, gave thanks and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.’” (Mark 14:22-24)
BY: Fr. Robert deLeon, CSC
The Body and Blood of Christ;
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
Standing impatiently in line at our local Walmart last month, the memory of a long ago incident surfaced, an interchange I had with a young check-out clerk. What happened that day invites a reflection on the gospel passage we hear on this Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. On that long ago day as I approached the check- out lanes, I had the good fortune to notice that one register was open, no one ahead of me, the young cashier laughing on her cell phone. Approaching her with my intended purchases, I lined up the articles neatly before her. It was then that I heard her loud sigh and the interrupted end of her conversation, “I gotta go, Kate, there’s a guy here…”
I apologized for my intrusion into her social life, she shrugging her shoulders while commenting, “I’ll call her back after you go.” She rang up my purchases and loudly proclaimed the total to six adjoining check-out lanes. Handing her a credit card, her eyes fluttered upward in exasperation as another loud sigh escaped, “I don’t have a pen for you to sign the slip.” Then she just stared blankly at me. When finally I offered to go look for one, she sighed again saying she’d go hunt one up from somewhere.
I stood alone at the register, the clerk gone and no one else in line. At that instant, the pokey register approved my credit card and the cash drawer flew open revealing bundles of bills. For a full sixty seconds I stared in amazement at what had been left before me, cash for the taking. While I never for a moment thought of taking the money, the opportunity lay clearly before me. But the thought that nearly as quickly entered my consciousness and remained with me was that this clerk would be fired for such an imprudent action were it seen by her supervisor. Returning with the pen, it did not seem to dawn on her what she’d done until I gently reminded her, pointing to the open drawer and pile of bills, “You know, you better not do that again or you’ll be fired.” “Yeah, I know,” was the ungrateful response as we completed the transaction.
How often do we stand before the Table of the Lord, on which are set riches beyond this world’s understanding, with either open-mouthed amazement or the sulky, bored attitude of the cashier? How often do we stand before God&aposs gifts, there for our taking, with hearts yearning for a peace only they can give, yet with minds unbelieving and unperceiving? Was there ever a gift more valuable put before us?
My stunned amazement in the Walmart check- out line was fueled, I know, by the improbability of the situation, also the illusion that I could take all that cash and just walk out the front door. In the end, of course, these thoughts remained only in my mind, never translating into action. Yet, as I stand before the body and blood of Jesus day after day, why don't similar thoughts go through my mind? As often as I mull it over, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: my human weakness blinds me to the wealth before me. It’s only in faith that I can see more clearly what Jesus so often and so freely gives, food for strength, food for peace, food for the journey home.