CORPUS CHRISTI, EUCHARIST, HUMAN BEINGS
Today (Feast of Corpus Christi) a friend of mine posted a YouTube link on FaceBook called GOD IN THE STREETS NEW YORK CITY. When I first clicked on it I was excited because I thought to myself, “Of course God is in the streets of New York City. God is found in the faces of the suffering, the homeless, the addicts, and everyone. Where else to find God than in New York City?”
Here is the link, which, as you will see, is not what I expected.
Now, I am not here to put down Eucharistic Adoration. For those who find nourishment there, I encourage it. But, as a Subversive Thomist, I must ask: Is the devotion to the Eucharistic Host an end in itself?
I wish to propose it can lead to something else.
We are sacramental. We believe in the absurd: That God is to be found, entirely and without any qualification, even in eating a small piece of bread.
But if we are going to the Eucharist with that idea as if it were an end in itself, we may be missing out on the wild miracle Jesus sought to awaken us to: That God, really and without reservation, is to be found anywhere and everywhere, and even especially in our fellow human beings.
The flesh and blood of God, of the God who walked with and among us, can even be found in the people and the real life situations in New York City. The poor and hungry, the criminals and prostitutes, the angry and busy, the lonely and needy: All of these should awaken us to the face of God.
This is taught even now in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
CCC 1397: The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren:
You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother,. . . . You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal. . . . God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful.”
Pay attention to that second sentence. “To receive in truth….” if our reception of the Eucharist is not awakening us to finding God outside of the Eucharistic Host, if our sacramental experiences do not help us see God in our fellow human beings, then we are not receiving the Eucharist at all.
And on this feast of Corpus Christi, if our adoration of the Host, in all its piety, is not helping us find Christ in the poor and suffering, then it isn’t corpus christi at all.
And so we should all seek to “Share our food” and “become more merciful,” or else we ought to forget about Corpus Christi processions.
Pray for me as I am moving to New York City. Pray for me that we might all become more merciful and more willing to share our food, and in so doing, we might all become more appreciative of the real truth of the body of Christ.