Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Year C
Preached at Assumption Parish in Bellingham, WA
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[00:00:01] Now, if you’ve been around the Archdiocese of Seattle long enough, you’ve probably heard an alternative reading or interpretation of this gospel. I heard it in my Catholic high school, and I also heard it at one of the early parishes to which I was assigned as a seminarian. And the reading goes something like this. It says, Jesus didn’t physically multiply the loaves. Instead, the people who were present there had amongst themselves enough food for everybody, but they were hoarding and being selfish. And so when Jesus took what little he had and showed that he was going to share it, everybody else there felt like they could share too. And once they started sharing, there was an abundance of bread and fish. Now again, I heard this first in high school, and so I’ve been chewing on it for 20 years now. It’s never sat well with me. And it took me long, a long time to have enough theological education to understand why it didn’t sit well with them. Two reasons from a theological perspective. First, it’s an expression of something called modernism. So this idea – and it’s present all throughout biblical interpretation today – there is this idea that we should try to explain away the miraculous in the Bible, that somehow the miraculous is anti-scientific or unhelpful or doesn’t sit well with modern people. And so there must be some explanation for everything that happens in the Bible that’s not supernatural. Well, this tendency to try to explain away the miraculous is something called modernism.
[00:01:48] And it’s a theological dead end, because what it does is it says the Bible can’t mean what it says. Well, the Bible is the Word of God. It’s the self-revelation of God. God himself gave us the Bible inspired by His Holy Spirit. We can’t get into an attitude where we say, somehow the Bible is flawed, it’s not good enough. It doesn’t tell us truths about God. We have to come up with alternate explanations for the things in the Bible. It’s spiritually dangerous because if the Bible is going to challenge us, we have to take it at its word. We can’t say, Oh, when I don’t like what’s in the Bible, I can come up with another way to read it. The only way God can challenge us is if we listen to Him and hear what He has to say. Which is not to say we’re fundamentalists. Catholics interpret the Bible according to the intention of the author. So the intention of the author of Genesis was to convey truths about God and humanity through a mythological, symbolic system. Nobody expects Genesis to be a science textbook, but the author of the Gospels intended to tell us true things that happened with Jesus. That was the intention of Saint Luke. He’s not making stuff up. When He tells us that Jesus multiplied the loaves, we have to believe him. Otherwise we’re saying “No, the gospel is not true.” The Gospel’s whatever I want it to be.
[00:03:14] The second reason that alternate interpretation of this gospel is problematic is because it puts the burden, in a sense, or the miracle on the people. Now, this is an expression of something that’s called Pelagianism. There’s this guy named Pelagius. He argued with Saint Augustine in the fourth, fourth and fifth centuries. I think he spanned those centuries, definitely the fourth century he argued with Saint Augustine. And what Pelagius said is, he said, Jesus’s salvation comes from his example. Jesus was – fine, God and man, we were post Nicaea at that point – was God and man, but the way he saved us was by showing us what perfect humanity looked like. And because he gave us the perfect example, we can follow his perfect example. And if we follow his perfect example, we are saved. The church has condemned this over and over and over again because we do not save ourselves. We are incapable of saving ourselves. Our salvation comes through the grace of Jesus Christ. He has to do something active in our lives for us to be saved, it can’t just be an example. Well, the alternative interpretation of this gospel is Jesus gave us a good example, and that’s why we succeeded. That’s why 5000 people got to eat. That’s Pelagianism, pure and unadulterated.
[00:04:38] So the question that I have is, why is this such an attractive reading of the gospel? Why have I heard it multiple times from multiple people? I think it’s because, in a sense, we have lost faith in God. Not to say the existence of God, but I think we’ve lost faith in the generosity of God and the actual love of God.
[00:05:05] It is easier and somehow more appealing for us to believe that humans are good, for us to believe that humanity has in itself what it needs to be saved, that somehow the food was already present, that people already had it. Because we no longer trust God to be generous. We no longer trust Him to be loving. It’s safer to trust humanity. It’s safer to trust human beings to somehow have goodness in them. It’s harder to trust God because at various times we’ve been disappointed by the Lord. We go to the Lord and we say, “Lord, I need this,” or “Lord, this is a problem.” And we don’t necessarily see Him fixing those problems or giving us what we want. So we lose faith. We lose faith that he would care about us. We lose faith that he would bless us. We lose faith that he would work any kind of miracle in our lives. So we turn to humanity for salvation. But the Church gives us these readings today on purpose because the reflection of Corpus Christi is the reflection of the abundance and the generosity of God.
[00:06:24] In the Gospel of Saint John, in the first chapter, there’s this phrase: “From his abundance we have all received, grace upon grace.” This is a story of abundance. Listen to that last phrase: “Looking up to heaven, He said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied.” This isn’t a story about God trying to limp these people along to their next meal. It’s not a story about God saying, “Okay, you’re all about to starve to death. Let me give you just the minimum amount so that you can get back to your homes and find food.” This is a story about God giving them something that satisfied them. When we talk about food satisfying us, we’re talking about Thanksgiving belly. We’re talking about being so full that we want to take a nap afterward. These folks ate and were satisfied. They were given everything they could have wanted, and the gospel proves it by that last line. “And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled 12 wicker baskets.” If God was being miserly, if God wasn’t giving people enough to satisfy them, there would not be 12 wicker baskets. You’ve seen it at family dinners. If there’s not quite enough food, nobody wants to take the last bit of food, but that last bit of food disappears. People who are hungry will sneak seconds and thirds if they have to. These people weren’t sneaking seconds and thirds. They weren’t taking what was left over because they were satisfied, because God had been so abundant and generous with them.
[00:08:05] In the gospel, it’s not hyperbole, but the Lord uses a hyperbolic situation. Five loaves and two fish for 5000 men, not counting the women and children. You want to imagine what that looks like? There are probably about 175 people in this church right now based on last month’s mass counts. Look around. That’s 175 people. Do you think five loaves and two fish would satisfy 175 people? That’s laughable. It’s laughable that I could feed you with five loaves and two fish. This is 5000 men, not counting the women and children. It is hard to picture that number in our head, right? You have to go to a Bellingham High School football game and maybe you’ll see 5000 people, maybe imagine trying to feed them with five loaves and two fish. And so the apostles come to the Lord and they say, these people are hungry, they need something. And the Lord says, Feed them yourselves. And the apostles look down at five loaves and two fish. I don’t know whether they would have laughed or cried, but it’s ludicrous what the Lord asked them. Give them some food yourselves. Well, this is all we’ve got. I can barely feed myself with five loaves and two fish. And you want us to feed 5000 men? Not counting the women and children. That’s crazy. That’s insane what the Lord has asked. Because He knew he needed to ask to emphasize his generosity. He knew he needed to point out the absurdity of the situation so that when he worked his miracle, everyone would know just how generous God is, just how abundant His grace and His blessings are. Five loaves and two fish feeding 5000. It’s impossible to imagine, because it’s impossible to imagine the generosity of God. It’s impossible to imagine how much the Lord loves us, how much the Lord blesses us, how much the Lord gives to us.
[00:10:05] This reading is obviously a Eucharistic reading. The church has recognized this since the Gospels were written, and one of the proofs of that is that it uses the same verbs as the institution accounts. So what we have in our second reading is one of four institution accounts, one of four accounts in the New Testament of Jesus’s words at the Last Supper, that he prayed over the bread and the wine. St John’s gospel is a supplementary gospel. We believe that John wrote his gospel after the other three, that he knew about the other three and he wrote supplementary material, which is why he doesn’t repeat them. So Saint John does not give us an institution account, but he gives us an entire very long chapter about the Eucharist. John Chapter Six. So Matthew, Mark and Luke have one, and the fourth one is from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Now the Letter to the Corinthians was written before the Gospels, probably, maybe around the time of the Gospel of Saint Mark, but probably in the fifties A.D., which means probably this is the earliest account we have of these words of Jesus. And Saint Paul himself says these words were given to him. They were handed on to him. Who comes before Saint Paul? The Apostles. That’s it. It’s the Apostles. Then it’s Saint Paul. That’s it. Those are the people. Saint Paul received these words directly from the apostles who received them directly from Jesus. These are the words. These are the words that the Lord uses. These are the verbs that are used in this account. Saint Paul says that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and after he had given thanks, which in the Greek you could say after he had blessed the bread, broke it, and said, This is my body, that is for you. In the Matthean And Mark and Luke accounts, there’s also a verb “to give.” So those four verbs are the verbs that Christians would use to mark a Eucharistic account. You’ll see them show up in the account of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. But you also see them show up in this gospel. What does Jesus do? “They did so and he made them all sit down, then taking five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.”
[00:12:29] It is obvious that the gospel writers intended all of these accounts of the multiplication of bread and fish to be prefigurations of the Eucharist. These writers were intentional with their words, and they gave us very clear signals that this is a story about the Eucharist. So our faith in the generosity and love of God matters. It matters because if we read this as a story about the generosity of people or following Jesus’ example, we don’t understand what we’re trying to be told about the Eucharist. When we read this as the impossible, laughable, absurd, generosity and love of God, and then realize that this is a prefiguration of the Eucharist, we come to realize that the Eucharist that we celebrate every Sunday and every day (except during Priest Days), celebrate every day is the incredible generosity and love of God. When we think about how laughable it is that God fed 5000 men, not counting the women and children with five loaves and two fish, it is that level of generosity, times 1000, that we experience on this altar. Every time we go to Mass. The Lord wants to feed us. He wants to give us His impossible love. He wants to give us something that is so overflowing that we end with 12 times as much as we started with; that we end up satisfied, completely filled, so filled that we couldn’t take anything more. That’s the amount of love that God pours out upon us every time we celebrate Mass.
[00:14:13] Eucharist is the fulfillment of every desire of humanity. It is the fulfillment of every desire of our heart, the fulfillment of everything that was created in us. What are the things that you desire? Well, as an embodied person, as somebody who is a perfect unity of body and spirit, you desire food. Everybody needs to eat. God took the most basic elements of food, bread and wine. Today we talk about bread and water. If you want to punish a prisoner, you give them only bread and water. It’s the most simple food you can give them. In the ancient world, water had bacterial issues, and so they would drink wine because the alcohol would kill the bacteria. So bread and wine is the equivalent of bread and water. It is the most simple food that you can imagine in the ancient world. He took the food of the poor, the food that everyone had access to, the most basic food. He took that food, the food that our bodies desire, and he turned it into the bread of angels. The bread that angels desire, the manna from heaven. This is heavenly food. The food of the poor becomes the food that the greatest saints and angels long for with all of their being. Our desire for food is fulfilled with food we could never have imagined. Food that we never would have believed could have been given to us mere humans.
[00:15:49] Maybe you desire family. Wonderful. What does the Lord say in the institution account from Corinthians? He says this cup is the new covenant in my blood. A covenant is a kinship promise. It’s a kinship promise. When covenants are sworn in the ancient world, it means that you are now part of my family. That’s why covenants were taken so seriously and covenants were solemnized with such incredible sacrifices. A covenant says, “You are now part of my family” and in the ancient world they took families very seriously. You would go to war over families. You would always be on the side of your family. So to make a covenant with someone was to say, you are now part of me. I will treat you like I treat my own body. And so when the Lord says that this cup is the cup of the New Covenant, he is saying this is the cup of a new family. He is swearing to us that we are brought into his family, the family that he will fight for, the family that he will defend, the family that he will take care of as his self. Families are made by blood. Of course, there are mixed families and their adoptive families, but the basic idea of family begins with the idea of blood, and everything is an analogy on top of that. So it is not a coincidence that the New Covenant is the New Covenant in his blood. We are united as a family by the blood of Jesus Christ. It is through his blood shed on the cross, but also given in the Eucharist that we are made a family. When we talk about the body of Christ, that’s not just an analogy. I mean, it is: Saint Paul talks about a body being many parts, and we all serve our different roles in the body. But the church actually, in all of our documents, also means it very literally. The body of Christ means that we are as united as cells are in a body. We are part of a singular organism who is Jesus. We are brought into that unity through the Eucharist, beginning by baptism, of course, but perfected in the Eucharist. That’s why our unity before we receive the Eucharist is so important. We have this tradition of praying the creed together; got to make sure we’re all on the same page, got to make sure we share the same beliefs. There’s this tradition of giving the sign of peace. Got to make sure we’ve laid down any hatred, we’ve laid down any animosity, any grudges. We have to be unified in mind and in heart before we receive the Eucharist. Because once we receive the Eucharist, our unity is absolute. There is no division in those who have received the Eucharist. If I have in myself the Body of Christ and you have in yourself the Body of Christ, we are closer than any blood relative. We have to be unified before we receive the Eucharist, because when we receive the Eucharist, there is no division.
[00:19:14] Maybe what you desire is sacrifice. Every human being knows in the depth of their being that they were made by God and they desire to return to God. And every human being in the history of the world has lived that desire out through sacrifice. They want to return to their creator, and so they try to give their creator the most precious part of them. They sacrifice their best oxen or their best sheep. Fallen humanity doesn’t always know how to live out its desires well, so we have all of these examples of human sacrifice. But you don’t sacrifice the village idiot, necessarily; you sacrifice the most valuable person that you have access to: the the warrior that you defeated that took everything that you had to defeat, or the foreign king. You sacrifice him. You sacrifice the virgin of the village, this beautiful image of purity. All of us desire to sacrifice ourselves to the Lord so that we can return to Him, so we can give him the greatest part of ourselves in the Eucharist. The Lord gave us the perfect sacrifice because it’s Himself. This altar is made of stone. Every Catholic altar is supposed to be made of stone because it’s an altar of sacrifice. It’s a glorified cutting board. They had to have stone altars because you would sacrifice the oxen and the sheep. You had to cut them up on the altar. We keep that, but our sacrifice is bloodless because the blood of Christ was enough. He sacrificed himself. And in the Eucharist, every time we celebrate Mass, he becomes present once again so that we can offer him once again to his father. One sacrifice for all time lived out on every altar, every day (except during Priest Days). It is essential that we remember that when we offer the Eucharist, we offer Jesus, we also offer ourselves. We are members of the Body of Christ. We are offering the Body of Christ, not just the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, but the body of Christ in ourselves, the Church. It is the perfect, bloodless offering. We are given a sacrifice that costs us everything, but is also bread and wine, something that even the poorest have access to.
[00:21:29] Finally, maybe you desire the presence of God. We all do. We all want to know that God loves us. That God sees us. That God wants to be with us. He gave us the the most impossible sign of his presence because he gave us his actual presence. It’s fine to say that God is among us, that I kind of feel his presence. It’s fine to say that, but to be able to point to something concrete, to be able to say that bread, that wine is Jesus Christ – we mean that, Jesus mentioned it at the Last Supper, we mean it today – that bread, that wine is Jesus Christ. You look upon that bread and wine, you are looking upon the Lord, just like you were in 30 A.D. in Palestine. You gaze upon Jesus Himself. He is actually present there. He loves us so much that He gave his very presence to us in bread and wine. He loves us so much that he remains with us in the tabernacle between Masses. He wants to be with us. And so he is. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to make a choice. Do we believe that God is this generous? Do we believe that God actually loves us this much? To give us his presence, to give us a new covenant, a new family in his blood, to give us that perfect unity, to give us that perfect sacrifice, to give us that perfect food? Do we believe that God is so impossibly generous? We Catholics have to make a choice every time we look upon the Eucharist. Either that is nothing more than bread, and we are the worst idolaters you can imagine because we worship as God something that’s made by human hands. Either we’re idolaters and that’s bread, or that is the body and blood of Jesus Christ actually present on the altar. Or that is the greatest sign of the greatest generosity this world has ever known.
Cuando contemplamos la Eucaristía, tenemos que hacer una elección. ¿Es esto pan, o es esto Dios? No hay otras opciones. No podemos mirarlo y decir que es una especie de Dios. Que es de alguna manera una cosa bendita y santa como el agua bendita. No podemos decir que nos recuerda a Dios. Solo hay dos posiciones que existen en la historia con respecto a la Eucaristía. O es pan, o es Dios.
Si es pan, estamos en serios problemas. Porque recibimos este pan con reverencia. Le decimos a la gente que este pan es Jesús. Adoramos este pan como si fuera Dios. Si la Eucaristía es solo pan, entonces somos idólatras de la peor calaña. Somos peores que los que adoraron al becerro de oro. Somos peores que aquellos que hicieron sacrificio a los dioses paganos. Estamos tratando el pan, el más bajo de los grupos de alimentos, algo obviamente hecho por manos humanas, estamos tratando el pan con la misma adoración que el todopoderoso creador del universo. Dios debería matarnos aquí y ahora por tal blasfemia.
Pero las cosas no son mucho más fáciles para nosotros si la Eucaristía es Dios, como lo predica la Iglesia. La Iglesia nos dice que la Eucaristía es el Cuerpo, la Sangre, el Alma y la Divinidad de Jesucristo. Si eso es cierto, ¿realmente tratamos a la Eucaristía como a Jesús? Si decidimos que este pan es Dios, ¿hemos actuado alguna vez como tal?
Pregúntate qué harías si estuvieras cara a cara con Jesús. ¿Cómo lo tratarías? ¿Qué le dirías a él? ¿Lo ignorarías por tu teléfono? Si te invitara a salir el domingo, ¿no contestarías su mensaje de texto o inventarías una excusa para no estar allí?
Creo que la mayoría de nosotros creemos que si Jesús regresara, seríamos amorosos, reverentes y asombrados. Le besaríamos los pies. Le ofreceríamos todo nuestro tiempo y toda nuestra energía. Bueno, mis amigos, ¡Jesús ha regresado! Vuelve cada vez que celebramos la Misa. Está aquí, en esta Eucaristía. Si no te inclinas a los pies de la Eucaristía, si no dedicas nada de tu tiempo a la Eucaristía, si tratas la Eucaristía con reverencia, si ignoras la Eucaristía, si te saltas el sacrificio de la Eucaristía cada domingo, entonces, ¿por qué crees que actuarías diferente si Jesús pareciera un hombre? Todo lo que hacéis a la Eucaristía, lo hacéis al Señor, porque la Eucaristía ES el Señor.
Jesús quiere estar contigo. Él quiere amarte. Él quiere mirarte. Lo demostró cuando se entregó a sí mismo en la Eucaristía. Pero tienes que hacer una elección. ¿Realmente crees eso? ¿De verdad crees que te ama lo suficiente como para estar presente contigo en la Eucaristía? ¿O crees que esto no es más que pan?
Ahora, Dios es el centro del universo y el centro de nuestras vidas. Sería fácil pensar que tenemos la obligación de pasar cada momento de vigilia con la Eucaristía, que nunca deberíamos siquiera mirar la Eucaristía porque somos indignos. Pero Dios nos dio vidas y espera que las vivamos. Él espera que vayamos a nuestros trabajos, criemos a nuestras familias, salgamos con nuestros amigos. Y nos dio la Eucaristía, aunque sabía que pecaríamos, por lo que no debemos creer que nunca seremos dignos de recibir la Eucaristía.
Entonces, ¿qué es exactamente lo que estoy pidiendo de nosotros?
Primero, incluso con trabajos, familias y amigos, Jesús debe ser la persona más importante en tu calendario. Él está justo aquí, y deberías pasar algún tiempo con él. Como mínimo, deben pasar tiempo con él todos los domingos en Misa. La mayoría de ustedes pasan tiempo con sus padres o los llaman todos los domingos. ¿No vas a pasar la misma cantidad de tiempo con Jesús en la Eucaristía? También recomiendo encarecidamente que todos intenten venir a la exposición del Santísimo Sacramento al menos una vez al mes, si no todas las semanas. Jesús está en este altar todos los miércoles, esperando pasar tiempo contigo. Responde a esa invitación.
Segundo, ¿deseamos recibirlo, como él desea estar con nosotros? ¿Tratamos de vivir una vida sin pecado, para que podamos estar limpios cuando lo recibamos? ¿Vamos a confesarnos dos veces al año, para que podamos eliminar la toxina del pecado de nuestro cuerpo? ¿Evitamos los pecados sexuales y nos aseguramos de estar casados por la Iglesia? Para aquellos de nosotros que cometemos pecados graves y aun así recibimos la Eucaristía, es como invitar a un invitado de honor, un rey, a tu casa y no limpiarla primero. Y para los que saben que no deben recibir la Eucaristía, tal vez porque están casados fuera de la Iglesia, es bueno que no quieran invitar a Jesús a una casa sucia, pero no deben pasar mucho tiempo sin invitarlo a todos. ¿Jesús quiere estar contigo, pero nunca lo dejas venir? Sea célibe, limpie su casa y haga entrar al Señor.
Tercero, debemos recordar tratar al Señor con la mayor reverencia. Muchos hispanos reciben la Eucaristía en la lengua, que es una práctica hermosa. También está bien recibir la Eucaristía en la mano, pero si lo hacemos, ¿nos aseguramos de lavarnos las manos antes de Misa? ¿Nos aseguramos de no agarrar a Jesús, sino de recibirlo? ¿Lo metemos en la boca como palomitas de maíz, o lo tomamos con cuidado con la otra mano y lo colocamos en la boca? Una vez más, todos debemos tomar una decisión. ¿Esto es pan o esto es Dios? Si es Dios (y lo es), ¿actuamos como tal?
Spanish Text (original English)
When we look upon the Eucharist, we have to make a choice. Is this bread, or is this God? There are not other options. We cannot look at it and say it is sort of God. That it is somehow a blessed and holy thing like holy water. We cannot say that it reminds us of God. There are only two positions that exist in history regarding the Eucharist. Either it is bread, or it is God.
If it is bread, we are in really deep trouble. Because we receive this bread reverently. We tell people that this bread is Jesus. We worship this bread like it is God. If the Eucharist is just bread, then we are idolators of the worst kind. We are worse than those who worshipped the golden calf. We are worse than those who made sacrifice to pagan gods. We are treating bread, the lowest of the food groups, something obviously made by human hands, we are treating bread with the same adoration as the almighty creator of the universe. God ought to strike us dead right here and now for such blasphemy.
But things are not much easier for us if the Eucharist is God, as the Church preaches it is. The Church tells us that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. If that is true, do we really treat the Eucharist like Jesus? If we decide that this bread is God, have we ever acted like it?
Ask yourself, what would you do if you were face-to-face with Jesus. How would you treat him? What would you say to him? Would you ignore him for your phone? If he asked you to hang out on Sunday, would you fail to answer his text message, or make up an excuse not to be there?
I think most of us believe that if Jesus were to come back, we would be loving, reverent, and in awe. We would kiss his feet. We would offer him all of our time and all of our energy. Well, my friends, Jesus has come back! He comes back every time we celebrate Mass. He is here, in this Eucharist. If you do not bow down at the feet of the Eucharist, if you do not give any of your time to the Eucharist, if you do treat the Eucharist reverently, if you ignore the Eucharist, if you skip out on the sacrifice of the Eucharist each Sunday, then why do you think you would act differently if Jesus looked like a man? Whatever you do to the Eucharist you do to the Lord, because the Eucharist IS the Lord.
Jesus wants to be with you. He wants to love you. He wants to gaze upon you. He proved that when he gave us himself in the Eucharist. But you have to make a choice. Do you actually believe that? Do you actually believe that he loves you enough to be present to you in the Eucharist? Or do you think this is nothing but bread?
Now, God is the center of the universe and the center of our lives. It would be easy to think that we have an obligation to spend every waking moment with the Eucharist, that we should never even look at the Eucharist because we are unworthy. But God gave us lives, and he expects us to live them. He expects us to go to our jobs, to raise our families, to hang out with our friends. And he gave us the Eucharist, even though he knew we would sin, so we should not believe that we are never worthy of receiving the Eucharist.
So what exactly am I asking of us?
First, even with jobs and families and friends, Jesus should be the most important person on your calendar. He is right here, and you should spend some time with him. At the very least, you should spend time with him every Sunday at Mass. Most of you spend time with or call your parents each Sunday. Are you not going to spend the same amount of time with Jesus in the Eucharist? I also highly recommend that everyone try to come to exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at least once each month, if not every week. Jesus is on this altar every Wednesday, waiting to spend time with you. Answer that invitation.
Second, do we desire to receive him, like he desires to be with us? Do we try to live a life without sin, so that we can be clean when we receive him? Do we go to confession twice a year, so that we can remove the toxin of sin from our body? Do we avoid sexual sins and make sure we are married in the Church? For those of us who commit grave sins and still receive the Eucharist, it is like inviting an honored guest, a king, over to your house and not cleaning it first. And for those who know they should not receive the Eucharist, maybe because they are married outside the Church, it is good that you do not want to invite Jesus over to a dirty house, but you should not go very long without inviting him over at all. Jesus wants to be with you, but you never let him come over? Be celibate, clean your house, and bring the Lord in.
Third, we must remember to treat the Lord with the utmost reverence. Many Hispanics receive the Eucharist on the tongue, which is a beautiful practice. It is also okay to receive the Eucharist on the hand, but if we do so, do we make sure to wash our hands before Mass? Do we make sure we are not grabbing Jesus, but are instead receiving him? Do we pop him in our mouths like popcorn, or do we carefully pick him up with our other hand and place him in our mouths? Again, we all must make a choice. Is this bread or is this God? If it is God (and it is), do we act like it?