|Audio recording of the Gospel and homily with Homily Notes: |
The Feast of Corpus Christi – The Body and Blood of Christ
Father Michael McCabe - Sunday, 18 June 2017
From our reading about, and reflecting upon, the Archdiocesan Synod, we will be familiar with the obvious link between today’s feast of Corpus Christi and the Synod theme of ‘Go you are sent…’
We have been fed at the Table of the Word and the Table of the Lord – fed not just for our own private spiritual needs; fed not just because of blessings received; fed not just because we have a favour to ask of God… but fed because we are sent and fed because we cannot go anywhere, or do anything, without relying totally on the Body and Blood of Jesus.
A very precious gift is given when we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus – it is not enough to say Amen – we are to take that very gift to others:
For this gift is for all humanity - blessed, broken, and shared, for sinners longing for forgiveness
This gift is given for those who have no voice in society or within the church
This gift is given for those who have nowhere to belong, like the refugees on Manus Island – paid out by the Australian Government with pockets full of money and yet nowhere to call home…
This gift is for the refugees in London who lost their lives in a terrible fire because of unethical landlords…
This gift is for the 10,000 New Zealanders imprisoned by our punitive justice system…
This gift is blessed and broken to be shared with our housebound family members and frail parishioners…
This is the gift we receive reverently in order to take it to others – all of the above and so much more
That is why Cardinal John often quotes Pope Benedict’s teaching from ‘Deus Caritas Est’ – ‘God is Love.’
‘Worship itself, Eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in return. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented…’ - Pope Benedict
For Pope Benedict, the Eucharist and Charity are intimately linked with Justice. Saint Paul is even blunter: ‘we eat and drink condemnation’ if we do not live out the Eucharist.’ When our ‘entire lives’ are ‘animated’ by charity the Eucharist is bearing fruit.
Pope Francis builds on this link, when he asks,
‘…in adoring Christ who is really present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by him? Do I let the Lord who gives himself to me, guide me to going out ever more from my little enclosure, in order to give, to share, to love him and others?’ - Pope Francis,
I think these are among the key reasons for describing this Synod as a Pastoral Synod.
We are all invited to participate, to make a submission, to pray for its success, to organise a small group to reflect on these themes.
Some have expressed concern that the parish has not done much about this part of the process especially as the deadline for any submissions is next week.
I apologise if you think I have dropped the ball on this – I never professed to be an All Black – I am committed to being your parish priest and will take advice at our parish council meeting this week as to how we can facilitate even more discernment during the months remaining before the Synod.
It is important to realise, however, that this Synod does not succeed or fail with the end of this part of discernment process. Neither does the end of this stage mean that we have addressed all the pastoral challenges facing us as a parish or an Archdiocese. Just as our understanding of Church and sacred liturgy will not end once our new church is built and opened neither will the ways we need to reach out as disciples of the Lord here in Kāpiti and beyond cease with this pastoral Synod.
We are called to provide on-going leadership and reflection long after the Synod ends – the Synod merely provides us with a fresh challenge, with a need to review our current pastoral outreach individually and communally and that is what we will continue to do.
Recently we held a pre-synod day at Viard College – all were invited. One of the participants from our Parish said this:
‘I sat in the classroom and changed my mind about the Synod because of two experiences: The power of the individual stories that Saturday and the obvious material poverty at Viard College – in our classroom I could not help but notice ‘the Breakfast Club bowls alongside the boxes of Weetbix’s. Students were obviously attending school without having had any breakfast…’
The parishioner then said, ‘The passion and energy was in the group and their stories – it was not in the booklet even though the Synod booklet challenged me on a personal level.’
To my mind that parishioner understood both the purpose of this Pastoral Synod and the deeper meaning of today’s feast of Corpus Christi.
God bless you
Father Michael McCabe
Our Lady of Kapiti
18 June 2017