This past Sunday for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi I had the opportunity to go to the Eucharistic procession in Northampton. It was a deeply moving experience of which there were 2 things that struck me. First, as we processed out of St. Elizabeth’s church down King St. and on to Main St. I noticed people – the passerby’s: walking, in cars, standing around … but it was almost if they had no idea what was going on. They looked at us puzzled and then carry on. Some waved and smiled or gave a nod but there was an overwhelming sense of indifference. They had no idea what we were doing, Who was among us, among them, that our God was walking by and they took no notice. Second, as we concluded the procession and headed back into the church, we invited our police escorts up to the front of the church for blessing from the Bishop. When the officers came up, the congregation stood and applauded. It was such touching moment … I could not help but wonder in both scenarios – What were they thinking? Did it influence them, in their hearts … what we did was simple … did anyone notice? Were they listening?
You see, I think this is the point of the Gospel. Jesus uses these parables to describe the inner strength that causes the Kingdom of God to grow. He is telling His disciples, basically, to cast wide net, paint with broad strokes … tell everyone … because you never know who is listening! You never know what impact your actions or words may have on an individual – because it is God who silently works in us… in the background, in people’s hearts.
Often, I think that we get confused in thinking that to be good examples of faith we need to have theology degrees, or we need to do big, public things that move many hearts … this is quite the opposite of the message of the Gospel. It really doesn’t take much… a little seed: a kind word, the offering of a prayer, an act of sacrifice. Really and simply… it takes love. A love that begins right here at Mass with a firm devotion and conviction that Christ is present in the Eucharist.
Recent statistics indicate that nearly or more than 70% of Catholics do not believe in Christ’s True Presence Eucharist … and perhaps that is a conservative number and a number that comes from Catholics in the pews … Now, I am not launching judgment on any one person just stating a fact. No wonder we are living in a world of indifference. We, as Catholics, therefore must double-down our efforts, recommit ourselves to a greater devotion to our God who makes Himself present under the form of bread and wine… this is no symbol, this is our God among us! It follows then, that we must get worship right… we have to get it right here because when we get this right, when our worship is authentic, we get life right – we get it right out in the world. The Second Vatican Council notes that the Eucharist is the source; the origin and the summit; the high point of our faith … ‘source’ from the Latin ‘surgere’ to rise up from… Our faith rises up from this act of worship, He grows within us … faith rises to life from the Eucharist and calls us back to Himself to be strengthened, in this Divine meeting… when we get this right, we get life right… Therefore it is necessary to meet Him here, to spend time with Him in adoration, to make frequent visits to the church, to go to confession in order to receive Him in a worthy and pure manner… Because if we can show Him our love in this place, He rises to life in us… and then we can then show that love to world grown cold to things of God… It does not take much … even a small seed has its place and can grow into something beautiful for God – and so can we.