Corpus Christi Solemnity
Gn 14:18-20; Ps 110:1-4; 1Cor 11:23-26; Lk 9:11-17
Father Basil Pennington, a noted authority on Contemplative Prayer, wrote in his book, The Eucharist, “If each day I can truly assimilate one Word of the Lord, I will come to have the Mind of Christ.” He later tells us that the main function of the homily is to choose that Life-giving Word that will carry us through the week. The problem with this week’s readings though, (and praise the Lord for this kind of problem), is that there are just too many different topics that are screaming to be discussed.
For example: there’s Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness, the King of Salem or Jerusalem, the Prince of Peace, the High Priest. So we could talk about the priesthood and how blessed we are to have such wonderful priests. And we can talk about our need for more young men to follow God’s call.
There’s the part about Abram’s “love offering” of 1/10 of what God bestowed upon him. And did you notice that it was Psalm 110 that spoke of Melchizedek today. So we could talk about Tithing and our giving back to God from the gifts of time, talent and treasure, with which He has so abundantly blessed us.
Then there’s the whole History of this Solemnity we call Corpus Christi or The Body and Blood of Christ. A history that began with a heavenly revelation to the young St. Juliana of Liege, Belgium, in the early 13th century. And how her vision of a dark spot on the moon represented this missing feast in the Church’s calendar, a feast that commemorates Jesus in the Most Holy and Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist. But we won’t get into that topic today either.
There’s the Sacramental Theology aspect of the Eucharist, it’s Institution by Jesus at the Last Supper and its Transmission through the ages by the apostles, bishops and priests, as we heard in St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.
There’s the whole topic of the Liturgy of our Eucharistic Celebration, stemming from the Passover celebrations of the Jewish nation in the time of Moses, to the miracle of the multiplication of loaves by Jesus, the “Taking, Blessing, Breaking and Giving” and how we observe these same actions in every celebration of the Mass. But, neither will this be our main topic today.
Then there’s the Spiritual dimension of receiving within ourselves this truly Holy – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. The Passion, the Purpose, the Death and the Life, the Cleansing and the Awesome Hope that the Eucharist brings to every one of us, every time we enter into communion with Jesus. No, today we will not talk about any of these wonderful subjects.
What the Holy Spirit has passed on to me to discuss with you today, that ONE word to ponder and savor, is the word “LINE.” Now, this is not about a Fishing LINE. Although Jesus did say that He would make them “fishers of men”.
And it’s not about a Geometry LINE. Although they say the shortest route between two points is a straight line and of course we know that Jesus is that LINE from here to Heaven.
No, Our “LINE” comes from that quote in the Psalm that said – “You are a priest forever in the LINE of Melchizedek.” Now, I’d like to tell you all a secret. But you have to promise not to tell anyone… And Father, you can cover your ears. One of the things in life that truly does not thrill me, besides going to the dentist, is – waiting in line. It seems that I’m one of those people, you have to watch out for in the grocery store, because no matter which LINE I choose, it will always end up being the slowest.
And yet the Psalmist says, “You are a priest forever in the LINE of Melchizedek.” Now we all know, that Melchizedek was not waiting in a grocery LINE. But we can surmise, because his name was mentioned from the Book of Genesis in the very beginning of the Bible, to the Letter to the Hebrews at the very end, that this Melchizedek must have been quite an extraordinary person, especially for these Bible writers to relate him to our Lord, Jesus Christ. And I’m sure you can see the ties, the “LINE” if you will, connecting the Blessing, the Bread and Wine, the Special Birth, the Daystar and the Holy Order between Melchizedek, Jesus and the Eucharist.
So let’s take it home. Just what is it about this word – LINE? Imagine, for a moment, that you’re standing in that ‘dreaded’ LINE, there at the grocery store. It’s – just – not – moving. Of course, all the other LINES are. You see some kind of commotion going on at the register, and your heart begins to beat, just a little bit faster, as you quietly say to yourself, “Oh, no!”
Then you hear someone call out the name of your cashier… “Mel Chizedek please call ext’n 110!” And you wonder to yourself, just what it might mean. . . that here you are, standing in ‘the LINE of Melchizedek.’ Now, there are, at least, 5 other customers ahead of you. And then, all of a sudden, your LINE begins to move. One after another, they’re checking out. Large orders and small, that LINE keeps moving. And finally, it’s your turn.
As Mel packs up your milk and your bread, your cheese, wine and cookies, he suddenly looks you straight in the eyes and says, “Thank you. There is NO charge… It’s all been paid for – by that gentleman ahead of you. His name is Jesus. You see, He gave everything He had, His ALL, so that you can be fed with the ‘Food of Everlasting Life.’ And with it, you will never have to come to THIS store again.”
After you finally catch your breath and stop muttering “O-M-G” to yourself, you begin to wonder, “Am I dead?” And as that stretch Hummer rolls to a stop – to pick you up, you finally open your eyes to discover instead, that O-M-G, You’re at Mass! And from this day on, you’ll never look at LINES – the same way again.
Then as Jesus opens that door for all of us, we’ll come to hear Him say: “Welcome to Life, my Beloved. You are in the LINE of Jesus”