Homily for May 29

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Homily for the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

I begin with something that may sound like the introduction
to some weekly crime show on television.
I begin by reminding you that
at the heart of what we do here every week,
there is a body;
there is a broken body:
a victim, an innocent victim,
whose blood has been shed – for us.

Of course, there is, in the heart of our sanctuary, a large crucifix,
with the broken body of Jesus hovering over our prayer.
But I’m speaking more about the broken body of Christ we find
in the Bread of the Eucharist on the altar.
I’m speaking of his Blood spilled for us, some 2,000 years ago,
and now found in the chalice we place on this altar.

Here’s another image of the broken Jesus to ponder.
Think of Michelangelo's great sculpture, the Pieta.
Think of the Mary, the mother of Jesus, holding in her lap, in her arms
the broken body of her crucified son.
Ponder the tenderness, the intimacy of that image...
What Mary’s doing in the sculpture,
we do here every Sunday morning:
with tender reverence, we hold the body of Christ in our hands,
and in an intimate gesture, we not only hold
but we consume his presence,
we take his great love for us into our own bodies
when we receive Communion.

• We approach the gift of the Lord’s broken body
with our own brokenness:
we are broken individuals, we are a broken parish,
ours is a broken Church, we live in a broken world.

• We come here every weekend with:
broken hearts, broken memories, broken promises, broken spirits,
broken relationships, broken bodies, broken hopes
and broken dreams.

Is there anyone among us who does not bring some brokenness today
to the broken body of Christ?

We, the broken, come to the one who was broken for our sakes,
to share in the simple bread we break in his memory
- all in hope that our brokenness might be healed.

We come to drink from the cup, so that his blood, shed for us,
might transfuse our weakness and helplessness
and course through our hearts and veins
with the promise of healing and new life.

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist,
when we literally lift up the Body and Blood of Christ,
we lift up in him the brokenness in our own lives
and in the lives of our brother and sisters
in our families and community, at work and  at school,
in our nation and around the whole world.

I know the brokenness I carry this morning to the Lord’s Table.
What brokenness did you bring to church today?
What’s in need of healing and mending in your life?
Whatever it is, the Lord is no stranger to it,
no stranger to our pain and sorrow,
he knows well the hurt of a broken body, a broken spirit.

His presence in the Eucharist has for its purpose
what was his work of the cross:
the forgiveness of sins, 
the healing of broken hearts and bodies,
and the promise of peace.

Imagine how much each of us, in our own broken lives, needs
the nourishment, the healing, the forgiveness
that is offered us in the Eucharist at the Lord’s Table.   

Come with your own brokenness to the Lord’s Table today.
I know I come with mine.

Come with hearts open
to the grace, the help that’s ours in Communion with Christ
and with one another.

Come with prayers for our brothers and sisters around the world
whose brokenness is so real and painful,
and so very much cries out for communion with us.

Come and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus
for it is in his brokenness for us
that we are forgiven,
that we are healed
and that we find peace.


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