I was reminded of the words “do this in memory of me” from a recent talk given by Sr. Joan Chittister on The Eight Spiritual Mountains of the Future Church. In this talk Sr. Joan spoke about the way to respond to these words is to take action in the world we find ourselves here and now. She mentioned that one issue is that human violence is never greater than what it is now. It also led me to think about another video I watched this past week from Laudato Si Week 2021. This video spoke about the urgency to act on climate change now. One line that has stayed with me this week is ‘it will be too late to refreeze the Arctic if it has melted.’ These are two issues amongst many today that we as a Church should be concerned about enough to want to respond to the call of the Gospel.
The First Reading tells us that Moses sprinkled some of the blood on the altar and then some of it also on the people assembled. Blood represented life and acknowledged that life comes from God. Sprinkling the blood on the people reminded them that they were joined to God in a Covenantal relationship. Recognizing that life came from God placed on them a call that they were called to respond by giving life to others. In the Gospel we hear the words which will also be proclaimed at our Eucharistic Prayer at Mass today, ‘this the is the Covenant of my Blood’. This reminds us that we too are joined to God in a covenantal relationship. This means that we are called to go out and give life to others in the same manner that Jesus did. In her talk Sr. Joan Chittister reminded us that the way we do this has to incorporate a readiness to respond to the needs of our times. This is what being spiritual people in our world today calls us to.
At the end of Mass, we hear the words, ‘Go in peace glorifying the Lord by our lives.’ Everyone responds to this saying, ‘Thanks be to God.’ What we are saying when we utter these words is that we are expressing our intention to do exactly that. Offering hospitality to those who seek refuge in our country, visiting and spending time with the elderly and vulnerable in our community, going out at night and offering food and companionship to the homeless, ensuring that our parishes are places of welcome for all who approach our doors and acting on the local level as to how we can improve our environment are just a few concrete examples of how we can respond.
This Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) is not a call to simply come to Mass and receive Communion. In this Feast we acknowledge the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. This in turn places a call on of us to go out from our gathered assemblies on a Sunday and be a “Real Presence” to others in our world today. When we do this, we do it in memory of Jesus.