Eat, Drink, Be Mine.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we reflect, in this Octave of Corpus Christi, on Jesusâ€™ command to eat His body and drink His blood. We rejoice in the very reality of His self-giving that makes us His.
The Rabbi of Jerusalem once visited the pope in Romeâ€¦
My dear brothers and sisters, the funny tale about the Rabbi and the Bishop of Rome is related to place and nearness.
God had once set His singular dwelling in the midst of Israel. In fact, He was so close to His people that we dwelt in a tent alongside them. It was not until the time of King David that it was determined Israel would build a Temple for God, a more permanent dwelling. It took around 400 years to get to that point. That work was completed by King Solomon.
What did not happen though was the thing God really wanted, which was not a physical building in which to dwell. He did not need that. Davidâ€™s predecessor Saul learned that lesson by his own disobedience and that of his soldiers. In 1 Samuel 15:22 we hear:Â Obedience is better than sacrifice, to listen, better than the fat of rams. The prophet is telling Saul that the attitude of the heart (the whole self) in relation to God is more important than external things like sacrifices and buildings.
King David himself writes in Psalm 40 and 51 respectively: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, and You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings.
Israel knew that God desired to live completely within them, but they kept it external.
Jesus came among them, the God-man, to reveal the presence of God completely, to make His Father known, and to call people into the Kingdom. He repeats His Fatherâ€™s earlier call to Israel in full reality of presence â€“ I want to be among you, within you, and I want you to be part of me.
As St. Paul tells us, I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed overâ€¦ He repeats the key words of Jesus repeated by the Church all through history â€“ This is My body, This is My blood.
Jesus not only left us His words, His gospel way of living, but in His example, instruction, and command His very presence â€“ the totality of His being body, blood, soul, and divinity â€“ so that His singular dwelling would be in the Church â€“ that is â€“ in us.
We fulfill what Israel did not, having Jesus â€“ God Himself â€“ dwelling within us. He is no longer in a tent in the camp, or in one special building. We are His place, we are His. Let us celebrate that now and always rejoicing in Jesusâ€™ precious gift of self, bearing and sharing Him with joy before all.