June 10, 2012
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord (B)
ACCEPTING AND DOING!
The focus of today’s readings, understandably, is on the blood of sacrifice. That blood is connected with the seal or proof, or witness – if you will – of the covenant between God and His people. The blood is poured. The blood is consumed in some way, and the blood is offered, first, for expiation, and second, as sign of consummation of the supreme agreement between two parties – God, on the one hand, and his people, on the other.
The response is as much a promise as an assurance: “Everything the Lord says, we will do!”
The pledge pronounced by the people actually stands for two things: acceptance, first and foremost … as if, indeed, to say, “we accept everything the Lord says …” But that is not all … the second part is a promise: “we will do as He says!”
Accepting and doing … this, among so many other things, is what we can reflect on today, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
Accepting has to do with acknowledging … It is professing that what the Lord demands is a non-negotiable, not optional, not discretionary. It means exactly that … taking God for His word … It means believing Him who said: “I will be your God, you will be my people.” It means choosing life, not death. It means making a decision to go on the side of those who have been given a promise, and who are waiting for the fulfillment of that promise. It means accepting the sprinking and the pouring of the blood offered in sacrifice, and received as pledge of that commitment between two parties: them and God Himself. It means accepting God totally as He is, not as one thinks He is. It means accepting the reality of a God who enters into our human history, so that He could rewrite our history of sin and shame, and lead us cleansed, purified, and washed, to a glorious destiny of those “washed in the blood of the Lamb.”
We don’t have to wax overly spiritual to understand what this acceptance entails. It means accepting His hard teaching in Christ, who claimed to be the bread of life, and who taught that “whoever eats his body and drinks his blood will have life everlasting.”
It means accepting even the unacceptable – the hard teachings related to the Gospel of life, that human life, in whatever form, in whatever stage, in whatever quality, be it in its incipient stage as a zygote, and in its coming to term in childbirth, from womb to tomb, is sacred and inviolable, and that the Lord, died for each and everyone of us, born, unborn, fruit of God’s loving handiwork, and therefore, worthy of dignity and utmost respect.
It means accepting even the uncomfortable and the seemingly unpopular. It means receiving the Lord worthily, not shabbily. It means taking part in the Eucharist properly dressed, not like as if one comes from the beach or the party circuit. It means accepting the Body of the Lord in communion with the right disposition, right intention, and the right body language and proper decorum. It means accepting Christ, whole and entire, not only the teachings that sound good to us, or teachings that don’t offend or hurt any group, political or otherwise.
Accepting … It has to do with professing as true what one receives as authentic teaching, in season and out of season; convenient on inconvenient, politically correct or otherwise. It has to do with professing and proclaiming with one’s deeds. It means walking the talk, and not just paying lip service to an anemic-sounding God, who more or less wants us to be generically good, while disobeying Church teachings!
A manipulative group, that calls itself Catholics for RH, mislead so many people. They claim to be catholics. Good for them! But that is all they are – simply in name, for their ultimate goal is to mislead the real, struggling Catholics, who, although they find it difficult to obey the moral teachings of the Church, strive hard to follow, to obey, with both religious assent, and the assent of faith. But that cannot be said of the Catholics for RH, who are nothing but cafeteria catholics, who choose what to believe in, and decide what to follow.
We stand to learn a telling lesson from the Jews of old. They accepted and they did according to what they accepted. “All that the Lord says, we will do!”
There is something here for all of us who have decided to come to Mass today. You did not come here just to hear pious words. You did not come here simply because you are afraid to “commit mortal sin” by not attending Mass. No … you have come here to do as the Jews of old did, when confronted with the blood offered in sacrifice. That was not just an empty symbol. That was not just a ritual thrown in for good measure, and for posterity. No … It was a symbol and a reality of what we are all called to be and do.
When you approach communion today, remember. What you receive is not just the Body and Blood of the Lord. What you receive is a pledge and a promise of eternal life. But this pledge and promise of future glory is not one-sided. It is not just about God who makes promises, but also about a God who makes rightful demands, for our sakes, for our salvation, for our present and future well-being.
And when you say “Amen,” you just don’t say “I believe.” You actually mean, as the Jews then meant … no more, no less … “All that the Lord says, we will do.”
Lopez Farm, Barangay Sabang