Corpus Christi

Thus a true sacrifice is every work which is done that we may be united to God in holy fellowship, and which has a reference to that supreme good and end in which alone we can be truly blessed…For, though made or offered by man, sacrifice is a divine thing, as those who called it “sacrifice” meant to indicate.  Thus man himself, consecrated in the name of God, and vowed to God, is a sacrifice in so far as he dies to the world that he may live to God…in order that, being inflamed by the fire of His love, [his soul] may receive of His beauty and become pleasing to Him, losing the shape of earthly desire, and being remolded in the image of permanent loveliness…it follows that the whole redeemed city, that is to say, the congregation or community of the saints, is offered to God as our sacrifice through the great High Priest, who offered Himself to God in His passion for us, that we might be members of this glorious head, according to the form of a servant…This is the sacrifice of Christians:  we, being many, are one body in Christ.  And this also is the sacrifice which the Church continually celebrates in the sacrament of the altar, known to the faithful, in which she teaches that she herself is offered in the offering she makes to God.

                –St. Augustine, The City of God, X

I’ve complained about Catholic homilies before, so I should acknowledge that our priest, Father Jose, gave a brilliant homily today for the feast of the Body of Christ.  Beginning from the first reading, he pointed out that while the Anonement rituals might seem grotesque to modern sensibilities, to the Jews it was a renewal of their covanent with God.  Having affirmed the legitimate aims of sacrifice, he moved on to the second reading, from the letter to the Hebrews, and argued that Christ has carried out this sacrificial reconciliation and union with God in a supreme way.  Finally, he alluded to the profound meaningfulness of the offering of body and blood, what I have called the “symbolism of blood“.  He pointed to the boyhood ritual (which he’s seen in several cultures) of two friends pricking their fingers to become “blood brothers”.  By sharing in Christ’s blood, we all become “blood” brothers and sisters in Him.  This priest is leaving us in July, and I will miss him.  (My outbursts against local priests have come from times when Fr. Jose is visiting relatives in Mexico, and we get dreadful substitutes.)

One thought on “Corpus Christi

  1. The fact he is from Mexico gives it away. My Spanish is not good but the priests I have listened to in churches I have visited in Latin America are much better speakers than American priests, who are mostly pretty weak.

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