WEARING OUR SKIN (Mark 14:12-16, 22-26): 14 June 2009 (Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ)
Dear Lord Jesus,
Today’s Solemnity of Your Body and Blood reminds us how much more seriously you take something we take so much for granted: what it means to “take flesh,” to “wear skin.” Sometimes, especially when our bodies fail us, we can’t help wishing them away. That was not the case with you, Lord. When you rose from the dead, you could have discarded your body, but didn’t. Instead you chose to keep it, complete with all its wounds, so much so that today, in your glory, you continue to wear our skin.
I think one message we can get from today’s feast is your nearness. Because you have a body like ours, you know what it means to have the sun on your face, to feel sweat on your skin. Like us, you know the pleasures we know: to feast on good food and good wine, to accept the touch of a mother, to receive encouragement through a good friend’s tap on the shoulder. You also know the pains we know: the limits to one’s strength, the waning of energy, tears blurring our vision, and the sting of freshly inflicted wounds.
So whether in pleasure or pain, in health or sickness, you are near because you’ve “been there, done that.” And still not content with that, you didn’t depart without leaving behind your body and blood in the Eucharist. Our faith insists that appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, every plain-looking wafer and every cup of that sweet wine raised in consecration at Mass are literally transformed into your very body and blood. What can be more intimate than to be fed your body and blood?
When I think about it, Christianity isn’t a very spiritual religion. As the Jesuit activist/poet, Daniel Berrigan, wrote somewhere about being Christian: “It all comes down to this: Whose flesh are you touching and why? Whose flesh are you recoiling from and why? Whose flesh are you burning and why?” There’s no going around flesh if we’re serious about following you.
Dearest Jesus, thank you for insisting on wearing our skin for all of eternity. Forgive us for taking for granted your physical presence in us and among us. Grant us the eyes to recognize you not only in the Eucharistic host and wine, but also in our own bodies, especially the broken bodies of our brothers and sisters. Amen.
Feel like sharing a Quick Prayer on this feast of the Corpus Christi? It might lead another reader to pray.