Under the care of the Discalced Carmelite Friars
There is something timeless about a crowd.They are just there – no more. In a crowd everyone is average – here we`re not talking about leaders or celebrities. A crowd then helps us understand what it means to form one body. None of us here is famous – speaking for myself at least. We can enjoy the anonymity of a crowd walking down the street or out shopping. A crowd will usually have some focus of unity – they are supporters of a team like the Dockers or they are attending a concert together.
But just now we make up a crowd, but we`re focussed on something different to a match or concert; we are the body of Christ attending Mass. Sunday mass is about being the body of Christ – `Corpus Christi`. We are part of what is called a `communio`.
The crowd followed Jesus because they were drawn to him, they wanted to hear him. And he told them about the love of God their heavenly father.This love is most fully expressed for us in the Eucharist – that is our strongest belief as Catholics.
At every Mass God`s people meet together, not just as individuals but as members of the body of Christ – a community. At Mass we proclaim God`s word, it is a thanksgiving , a Eucharist to God for all he has given us, especially his son.
At the heart of the Eucharist , there is a blessing or consecration of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ which we receive in Holy Communion..The words of the liturgy today ring out;
`The blessing-cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ.` So we are brought together by Christ who cares for us.` .Christ is alive with us as we gather together. If we allow him to do so he will satisfy our hunger.
Christ is our leader, `our captain in the well-fought fight` as the hymn goes.In his great novel, Lord of the Rings, there is a scene where Gandalf unexpectedly comes back to rescue the group after he had disappeared into the depths for some time, and was given up for lost. Tolkien put these words in the mouth of Aragorn as he addresses Gandalf:`And this I also say: you are our captain and our banner.The Dark Lord has Nine (ie evil powers) , but we have One, mightier than they : the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him.We will go where he leads.` To me this is a perfect description of the Risen Christ, although it should be said that Tolkien had no interest in seeing his book allegorised.
So all of us together or individually as one of the crowd, if you like, can approach Christ at Mass to be made whole and to healed of our wounds. We travel the same road and so we can`t be indifferent to our companions on the journey.Again may I remind you that the Eucharist makes us one.
No one has expressed this more beautifully than St.Thomas Aquinas – the great theologian who composed the liturgy for the Mass and Office of Corpus Christi. His `Lauda Sion` is a beautiful Latin hymn with Gregorian Chant melody containing many stanzas.It is the optional Sequence for today..But the last verses sum it all up for us:
`O thou the wisest, mightiest, best
Our present food, our future rest,
Come make us each thy chosen guest,
Co-heirs of thine, and comrades blest
With saints whose dwelling is with thee.`
In the beautiful Latin cadence the last lines runs:
`Coheredes et sodales,
Fac sanctorum civium.`
Tadgh Tierney. ocd