Corpus Christi 21
Jesus with his Hebrew ancestors and contemporaries lived in a culture much different than our own in the United States. While we celebrate individualism ( Clint Eastwood’s character as a lone cowboy, Rambo or the song “I did it my way” by “old blue eyes”), they were people who brought up from infancy that membership in your group, be it tribe, nation or religion, creates your identity and that you share in and contribute to the well-being of everyone who is a member of the same tribe, nation or religion. If a person was honored, you, by association, share in that honor. If someone brings shame, you share in that as well.
Look again to the reading from Exodus and the statement that “we will do everything that the Lord has told us”. Moses gave them overnight to think about it, before giving them a 2nd chance the following day; and, after reading the book of the covenant, the response was basically the same: “All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do.” Then they were sprinkled with blood of bulls sacrificed as peace offerings to the Lord, sealing the covenant, making them one people in union with their God.
Skip to the Gospel of Mark and the institution of the Eucharist, especially the cup. They all drank from it before Jesus explained what it symbolized. They were not sprinkled with blood of the covenant by an outside agent; they drank it themselves! They were one entity in union with their Lord, identified with him. That identity implied imitating Jesus in his life, death and resurrection. Their receiving the bread and cup was a pledge on their part to do what he did. Like their ancestors and the people of God right up to our time, some failed almost immediately. But God being God, failure is not an option. God continues to create new beginnings, to forgive past disappointments and to sanctify our present.
Once again we encounter in these readings how to become community, a call to go outside of ourselves, to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn. To rejoice when all people are treated with respect and dignity; to mourn the sins of humanity when there are attacks on prolife issues like abortion, assisted suicide, capital punishment, white supremacy, racism, and anything that demeans individuals and groups that you or I deem different or unworthy
On this feast, may we recognize that we are the body of Christ which is given for the life of the world, sealed by Jesus’ blood to be communion with Jesus and each other.