When a soldier goes to war frequently he/she carries a picture, a picture of a loved one,
a picture which in some small way makes him/her feel the presence of that special person whenever they look at it.
When Daddy goes away on a business trip many times a mother will show their little children his picture.
“Here’s daddy” they say to remind the kids that he loves them, and cares for them, and misses them.
Sadly a picture is not enough it is never enough.
What the soldier needs on the battle field is a kiss or an embrace.
What the little girl needs is to dance on Daddy’s feet or to lay on his chest and feel his heart.
What the little boy needs is to throw play ball with his Dad or be tackled by him.
No a picture, or a memory, is never enough
they never satisfy.
Pictures and memories never fill the space which exists in our heart when we are alone, absent from the ones we love.
Human beings need presence.
We yearn to be in the presence of the one we love.
God understands the human heart and God understands the human body.
He created them and God Himself became incarnate.
Remember the Word was made flesh and dwells among us.
And when you think about it and pray about it.
Our bodies are they way that God has given us to be in communion with each other
and His Body is the way we can live in communion with Him.
Our bodies are how we relate.
Our bodies are like a window to the soul of the one we love
even a smell,
- bring us into communion with each other
A long time ago I met a woman who refused to wash a pillowcase because it smelled like her deceased husband. It made him present in a special way.
What a gift it is to be in communion with someone else,
what an incredible gift.
And just like we need our bodies and the bodies of others to be in communion with each other…
Jesus understood that we could only be truly in communion with Him if we shared His Body, His Blood , His Soul, and Divinity.
That is why we come here to be in the presence of God…
That is why this place is holy
That is why this beautiful little church is set apart
That is why we call it a sacred space
That is why some of us genuflect or bow when enter and leave.
That is why we should try not to talk unnecessarily
As if we met someone in front of JC Penny’s in West Farm Mall..
In the synoptic Gospels we hear the narrative of the Last Supper, in which Jesus plainly says,
“THIS IS MY BODY
THIS IS MY BLOOD.”
He doesn’t say this could be my body.
He doesn’t say this could be by blood.
No, He says “THIS IS MY BODY.”
And sadly for some strange reason,
some who read the scriptures literally in every other aspect….
those who believe that
there were really seven 24 days during creation,
and Moses was really 120 years old, etc.
refuse to take Jesus literally when He says, “this is My Body.”
So how do we know that Holy Communion is really the Body and Blood of Christ ?
Jesus also says He is the vine and we are the branches.
and in these cases he is speaking figuratively.
To find more evidence that Jesus was not speaking figuratively and meant what he said…we have to go to the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel and the Bread of life discourse.
Which is what we read today. In it Jesus said
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood you have no live within you.”
Many took Jesus literally as he intended and turned away.
They say to themselves… this is too weird for me.
How can this man give us his flesh and blood to eat?
They leave because they refuse to comprehend or accept this incredible teaching of Jesus.
They refuse to accept Him at His literal Word and they make the mistake of their live time and walk away.
Knowing that they are leaving because they are taking him literally JESUS does not call them back and say wait you misunderstood I’m talking figuratively or symbolically.
No He lets them go their way in the hope that someday they would understand and return.
Then He simply turns to the Apostles and says.
“Are you going to leave me too?”
To which Peter, the impulsive one, responds.
“Lord to whom shall we go You have the words of everlasting life?”
No a picture is not enough
And a memory is not enough
God understands that just like we need the real presence of those whom we love to live in communion with them….
God understands that we need His real presence, His body and His blood to live in communion with Him.
Why is this so hard to understand?
Why is this so hard to believe to accept?
If God can make the whole universe with all its wonder and beauty..
Why can’t we accept that God can take some bread and some wine, ordinary things and turn them into his body and his blood his real presence so that we might live in communion with Him?
Holy ones… our world, our culture, our nation, our neighborhoods and sadly even our families are becoming more and more isolated and isolating.
Don’t be afraid
It is possible to live in communion with God,
and God longs to be in communion with us much more than we could ever desire to live in communion with Him.
“Eat his flesh and drink his blood”
Live in communion with Jesus the very Word of God
Those who do can never be alone…
He is here
He is present
Not simply in a memory or a written text or a picture
He is here His body and His blood, His Soul and divinity.
He longs for you to live in His presence of and be nourished by His body and blood.
To be in communion with him
This Church has been filled with people longing to sit in the very presence of God.
for over a hundred years.
People come here
To sit with him
To listen to him
To sing to him
To pray to him
To be with him in a special way.
May we always find great solace both at the celebration of the Eucharist or at the feet of our Lord at present in the Blessed Sacrament.
May be always strive to be in communion with God who loves us so much that He gives us His Body and Blood.
God is near very near indeed
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