Forever changed

Do you enjoy magic shows? I do – they are just a lot of fun. Many years ago, as part of a white water rafting trip, we spent several days in Las Vegas. I took the opportunity to see one of the big-time, over-the-top, oh-my-gosh-how-did-he-do-that magic shows.  I am totally willing to suspend scientific inquiry long enough to accept the invitation, enter the moment, and be totally entertained. It is part mystery, part force of personality, coupled with flair, a sense of the dramatic, and showmanship that makes it enjoyable. Of course I was sitting next to a curmudgeon who kept leaning over to whisper, “I know how he did that.”  Since he was unwilling to leave the realm of knowledge and disbelief behind, he was not inclined to accept the performer’s invitation, did not enter into the mystery, and was unchanged by it all. Continue reading

Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament

This weekend the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, a feast perhaps better known by the Latin Corpus Christi. At its core, the solemnity is a celebration of the Tradition and belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Many folks wonder why this celebration is not part of Holy Thursday, and it was, mixed in with other themes, e.g., institution of the priesthood. And, all this occurs in the shadow of Good Friday. The placement of the celebration was not one that necessarily lends itself to a joyful celebration. Continue reading

Looking deeply

corpus-christiMy favorite comic strip is “Calvin and Hobbes.”  If you are not familiar, it features Calvin, a preternaturally bright six year-old, and Hobbes, his imaginary tiger friend. The comic strip manages to infuse wondering (and wandering) on a cosmic scale into an ageless world of lazy Sunday afternoons, space adventures, and tales of befuddled babysitters, teachers, and parents. What I most enjoy about Calvin and Hobbes is that it reminds me of our capacity to be surprised, to imagine, and enter into mystery and wonderment. Calvin’s openness to the mystery of it all allowed him entry to even the theological arts where he mused about the combination of predestination with procrastination, finally concluding, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die.” Continue reading

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

This weekend the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, a feast perhaps better known by the Latin Corpus Christi. At its core, the solemnity is a celebration of the Tradition and belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Many folks wonder why this celebration is not integral with Holy Thursday. It was,  mixed in with other themes, e.g., institution of the priesthood. And, all this occurs in the shadow of Good Friday. The placement of the celebration was not one that necessarily lends itself to a joyful celebration. Continue reading

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi

This weekend the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, a feast perhaps better known by the Latin Corpus Christi. At its core, the solemnity is a celebration of the Tradition and belief in the Eucharist as the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Many folks wonder why this celebration is not part of Holy Thursday, and it was, mixed in with other themes, e.g., institution of the priesthood. And, all this occurs in the shadow of Good Friday. The placement of the celebration was not one that necessarily lends itself to a joyful celebration. Continue reading

Corpus Christi

This coming Sunday marks Corpus Christi Sunday (Year C);  You can read a commentary on the reading here.

10 When the apostles returned, they explained to him what they had done. He took them and withdrew in private to a town called Bethsaida. 11 The crowds, meanwhile, learned of this and followed him. He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. 12 As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, ‘Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.’ 13 He said to them, ‘Give them some food yourselves.’ They replied, ‘Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.’ 14 Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of (about) fifty.’ 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets. Continue reading

Look deeply and see

The great thing about being a child is that you can grow up to be a fire truck (my ambition at one point in life), not be concerned with gravity and the laws of physics, and your world in not limited by “that is not just the way things work.” It is a world of imagination and wonder that sometimes befuddles babysitters, teachers, and parents. It consumes lazy summer afternoons, creates space adventures, and can conjure up a most challenging collection of wisdom and insight. Nothing captures it better than my favorite comic strip of all time, “Calvin and Hobbes.”  Calvin is a preternaturally bright six-year-old; Hobbes is his stuffed toy who, in Calvin’s imagination becomes into his best friend, the innocently wise Hobbes. To read Calvin and Hobbes is to be infused into wondering and wandering on a cosmic scale; to engage the innate human capacity to be surprised, to imagine, and be absorbed into mystery. No topic in the universe is closed to such capacity – not even the theological arts. Calvin mused how predestination is molded by procrastination, finally concluding, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I am so far behind that I will never die.” Continue reading

Eucharist: a pattern of life in Christ

I would wager that most people would guess that in Francis’ own writings he spoke at length about poverty, his love of nature and animals, and other topics for which Francis is so well known in the modern world. Yet, in his own writings, there is perhaps no other topic that he addresses more than the Eucharist. In his Eucharistic writings, Francis expresses a deep view of the continuing Incarnation of Christ in the world, and in that vision is an entire way of life. These writings represent part of the movement of Francis’ mystical life from prayer and devotion in solitude before the cross, to a pattern of communal prayer and devotion in the Mass as well as a devotion to the Eucharist apart from Mass. Continue reading

Body of Christ: Promise

The Promise. Jesus’ words of promise were confirmed with a solemn oath that he would not share the festal cup until the meal was resumed and completed in the consummation. The sober reference “no more” indicates that this is Jesus’ final meal and lends to the situation the character of a farewell. The purpose of his vow of abstinence was to declare that his decision to submit to the will of God in vicarious suffering was irrevocable. Forswearing feasting and wine, Jesus dedicated himself with a resolute will to accept the bitter cup of wrath offered to him by the Father. Yet there is here a clear anticipation of the messianic banquet when the Passover fellowship with his followers will be renewed in the Kingdom of God. Then Jesus will drink the wine “new,” where in this context newness is the mark of the redeemed world and the time of ultimate redemption. The reference to “that day” envisions the parousia and the triumph of the Son of Man (see above on Ch. 13:24–27, 32; cf. 1 Cor. 11:26). Thus, in the context of reflecting upon his violent death on behalf of the many, and just prior to the impending events of the passion, Jesus clearly affirmed his vindication and the establishment of an uninterrupted fellowship between the redeemed community and its Redeemer through the experience of messianic salvation. Continue reading

Body of Christ: Last Supper

The Last Supper. In the verses which follow v.17, Mark concentrates all of his attention upon two incidents which marked the meal: the moment of the dipping of the bread and the bitter herbs in the bowl of stewed fruit when Jesus spoke of his betrayal (verses 18–21), and the interpretation of the bread and the third cup of wine following the meal itself (verses 22–25). Continue reading