Several times during mass you might notice me saying something quietly to myself. I’m not crazy. There are certain prayers that I am supposed to say quietly, because they are the personal prayers of the priest. Everything else I say out loud because I am either speaking to you, or I am speaking to God for all of us. But about seven times during the mass there I pray something privately, personally to God. On the feast of Corpus Christi I want to share one of those prayers with you.
After we have all received communion, either Dc. Dave or I go over to the credence table and we purify the vessels. We pour a little bit of water to collect whatever tiny crumbs of the Host or remnants of the Precious Blood are left and we consume it. As we do that we say one of those quiet prayers: “What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we receive in purity of heart, that what has been given to us in time, may be our healing for eternity.” This is what is in the heart of the priest or deacon after we have all shared in the Body and Blood of Christ.
Twice in that prayer we focus on the physicalness of what we have just received: “what has passed out lips as food… what has been given to us in time”. One of the beautiful things about our faith is that the sacraments our physical and take place in time. They are real to us. You have to make the time to come here and be with all of us. You receive the Eucharist in your hand and on your tongue. You feel it, you chew it, you swallow it. We are even meant to physically long for it because we hold to that Eucharistic fast, not as lengthy as it was in the past but still today for one hour before receiving communion we do not eat and we only drink water, so that our bodies are physically in some small way desiring to receive this food.
But it is so much more than food. It is our healing for eternity. The crowd in today’s Gospel would be so jealous of us. They saw five loaves feed five thousands but that is nothing, nothing compared to the miracle we witness at every mass. We come here and in this bread we approach the Cross, the Body of Christ and His Blood poured out for us. We come down this aisle and are taken outside of time to be present to the very same Cross that we meditate on as the source of our salvation. Our healing for all eternity, the Cross that has conquered death and given life.
And the thing I really want you to focus on today: “what has passed our lips as food, may we receive in purity of heart.” My personal prayer with every mass is that this food heals you for eternity, and that you know and feel and receive that in the purity and simplicity of your heart. My prayer is that we begin mass conscious of our sinfulness, but that we leave mass with peace of having received the mercy of God, a trust that his love is as real as this food.
[Tomorrow morning / after this mass / before this mass] we [are going to walk / walked ] around the heart of the neighborhood surrounding the church in procession with the Eucharist. We want Christ to be a part of our lives, our world, our homes, our reality. We want that mercy and that love to go forth from this altar. And every single Sunday it does. Not in a monstrance but in your hearts. So what has passed your lips as food may you receive in purity of heart.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.