HOMILY & IDEAS

Ex 24:3-8; Heb 9, 11-15; Mk 14, 12-16, 22-26.

Turning Over Stones

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots for you.

I know that in the past I have crafted an entire homily on a single verse from the Gospel; but this week my Corpus Christi thoughts have been occupied by a verse that does not even appear in this Gospel. Rather it appears in the Gospel of Luke and John and in the Eucharistic Prayer -- DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.

The homiletic police can arrest me and the homiletic lawyers can sue me for everything I own. Bring a shoe box and 8 hangers.

Why has this verse been occupying my thoughts? Because it worked. It was brilliant.

Sure, one could preach about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, about Eucharist being a channel of grace, about Eucharist being a source of spiritual nourishment, about the communal reception of Eucharist making us the body of Christ with many parts and about Eucharist embodying the sacrificial and atoning love of Jesus; but I have had trouble this week thinking beyond the simple fact that Jesus did not want to be forgotten.

He did not want His words to be forgotten. He did not want His example of mercy and forgiveness to be forgotten. He did not want His sacrifice to be forgotten. He did not want his miracles to be forgotten. He did not want his teachings to be forgotten. He did not want his command to love one another to be forgotten. He did not want His life to be forgotten.

What he did worked. It was brilliant.

Marketing professionals brainstorm in thinktanks dreaming up ideas to keep the public interested in products or concepts.

Egyptian Pharaohs built mammoth triangular, stone structures in the middle of the desert so that their names would never be forgotten -- even after death.

Yet, the success of every creative marketing professional seems to be only measurable by the number of weeks or months a consumer is captivated by a product or concept -- rather than by the number of years.

Who knows the names of the Pharaohs which the Great Pyramids commemorate? I do not.

Yet 2000 years ago a God-Man took a couple staples of societal sustenance -- Bread and Wine -- and told His friends that each time they especially gathered to consume this food and drink that they would be consuming His body and blood -- and that they should do this regularly so as not to forget him.

It worked. It was brilliant.

In early Christian communities people met in homes to eat bread and drink wine. Jesus did not want to be forgotten and He wanted to dwell in his brothers and sisters after his ascension into heaven. Jesus asked that they take His body and blood into their bodies.

But 2000 years later we do not meet in homes. We do not recline at tables. We do not consume something that really looks like bread. For practical reasons we now gather in buildings constructed specifically for gathering and worship. We sit in a series of pews facing a sometimes distant table. at the offertory we present perfectly round, flat, quarter-sized objects made of the ingredients of unleaven bread to the priest to consecrate and distribute as the congregation stands in lines. Sometimes practicality demands compromise.

Still, there is no getting around the fact that 2000 years later we gather in the millions each weekend and remember.

We remember Jesus, His compassion, His life, His forgiveness, His teachings, His miracles, and His love.

It worked. It was brilliant. Nothing can compare to it.

Jesus wanted to be remembered -- and He is. He is.

If you want a new starting place to begin thinking about the body and blood of Christ try this one: Jesus said -- DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME. And, we do.

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