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Homily for the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, 2024 - Dcn Jim Curtain

Most of us would know good virtuous people of other faiths, and of no explicit religious faith. People who obey the laws, who love their families, who are generous to others.

So what makes us Christians different ?

Look at the emphasis in today’s readings on blood. The blood that Moses sprinkles on the people as a sign of their intimate relationship, their covenant, with God. The blood of Jesus that the letter to Hebrews tells us is the sign of our redemption. The blood that Jesus invites his disciples to share under the form of wine at the Last Supper.

Blood is physical, as our life is physical. Our Christian faith is physical, a relationship with God who became physical, who expressed being divine in flesh and blood. And in that physical relationship God wants us to become divine. St Thomas Aquinas, the great teacher of this feast day of the Body and Blood of Christ, wrote ‘Since it was the will of God’s only-begotten Son that men and women should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men and women gods.’ I’ll repeat that last section - ‘he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men and women gods.’ Think about that, it’s a massive statement!

As Christians we know that God loves us so much that God wants us to be divine.

Jesus invites us to call God Father. Well, in the Middle Ages there were great saints who called Jesus our Mother. This wasn’t so much a sentimental statement about God’s tender motherly love, although that is certainly true, as a statement about the sheer physicality of God’s love. Jesus is our Mother because he makes space for us in his body. In communion we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we are ‘in Christ’ as St Paul so often writes. We speak of coming to birth in Christ, and as our mothers feed us so that we can grow to be mature adults, so does Christ feed us in this sacrament so that we can grow to be divine, as he is divine.

At the Mass we are invited to gaze on the divine Body and Blood of Christ under the form of bread and wine, and as adult Christians to be fed by Christ and to share in divine life.

What does that mean for us, for how we live our lives? Let’s look at two of the implications. First of all, as Christians we honour the body, we honour the physical. We care for people in need, for the sick, for those with disabilities, for human beings at the beginning and the end of physical life. Our belief that God became physically human, and passionately wants all men and women to become divine, drives us to care for the physical, for human beings body and soul.

The second implication is that, as Fr Jerome said last week, when we look at our fellow Christians we are looking at temples of the Holy Spirit. Every person in this church is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and should be honoured as such. Furthermore, God passionately wants every person in the world to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. Our vocation as Christians is to share in God’s work of making all our brothers and sisters divine, of inviting all, body and soul, into the Body of Christ. We can do this through kindness and generosity to others, through working to relieve suffering, though struggling for justice in the world, through spreading the Good News that Jesus Christ has shown that love and life are stronger than death and despair. We are called to invite others to share

in the life of Christ, the life that we share here at Mass, the life that feeds us when we receive the Body of Christ.


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