As we gather in our church communities this weekend it might be appropriate to ask ourselves – what unites us? Look around you – we are such a diverse crowd! Next weekend we will celebrate our Multicultural Mass followed by a food and cultural extravaganza. The movement and colour and vibrancy of the liturgy will only be matched by the food and flavours and customs of the many groups that make up our diverse and exciting Parish Family.
And while diversity is good, something must also unite us. Something must keep us together! What brings us the cohesion and sustains our common faith? Our source of unity is not where we come from, it is not whether we are conservative or liberal, it is not the colour of our skin or whether we are male or female. Our source of unity is Christ.
Corpus Christi – the body and blood of Christ – is the marriage of God and us. This union took place not only in the incarnation but it is celebrated at every Eucharist whereby Christ is made one with our very flesh. The Eucharist is the living sign that God is with us now and always. I am the living bread come down from heaven; whoever eats this bread shall live forever; and the bread I give is my flesh for the life of the world.
Whether we celebrate the Eucharist at Stella Maris or St Peter’s, St Mary’s or St Catherine’s, for us there can be no life if our life is not in Christ. We may be beset by sin or ignorance. We may fall short of what Christ has called us to be. At times we may be confused by teachings or confounded by canon law, but we remain part of his body.
So in this Eucharist-centred Church of ours, we are both guests and waiters. Jesus invites us to his table to be nourished by his body and blood in the bread and wine of the sacrament. Our presence at this table makes us more than diners but a family.
We come here with our struggles and our doubts and pains and sorrows and, if the Eucharist is what Jesus intended, we find support and compassion from all those who come to the table with us.
At the same time, the Eucharist should impel us to become Eucharist for others – to make the limitless, complete love of Christ real for all in our own acts of charity and compassion. We are both guest and waiter – participant and host at the banquet of God.
So, it is good to remember this weekend that every time we gather around the Altar of the Lord we ratify our relationship with God and re-commit ourselves to being sacraments of communion and community, signs and instruments of new life, heralds of God’s reign of love, justice and mercy. It is nothing less than this that we profess every time we hear the words THE BODY OF CHRIST and we humbly respond AMEN.
Fr Peter Brannelly