Daily Gospel Reflection for June 7, 2015

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Today’s Gospel: Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

The place is Denton, Nebraska. The event, Corpus Christi. I am here visiting my sister, and we’ve just come from Mass in this small town outside Lincoln. To my surprise, the priest is leading the congregation in procession from the church out into the neighborhood. I see a short street with rows of regular-sized homes, each with a porch or spacious front yard. The priest is carrying the monstrance, which holds the Host, the Body of Christ, and we follow along behind singing the traditional music of this Solemnity, O Salutaris Hostia (Oh, Saving Victim). At each house, we stop before an altar where we kneel to pray. Flowers, candles, images, and rosaries adorn the altar tables. As we rise to go from house to house, I think of the Lord going from one home to the next, preaching the gospel, conversing with the residents, sharing a meal, reaching out to heal, and standing up to preach the gospel. It strikes me that he is among us now as he was among the people then, if only we had more faith.

Carrying the Body of Christ in the monstrance among the people is a powerful experience of the gospel. I find myself wishing for a procession at my own parish. Processions used to be a regular occurrence on Catholic feast days, and when I was little we used to process on Marian feast days with the statue of Mary in our back yard where we had a little grotto. This kind of expression of popular religious practice is more than just a pious demonstration of devotion, for not only does it reflect real faith, it also carries the energy of the gospel, an occasion of great grace. I like to call this “Gospel Alive,” because through it the gospel can be relived, the Lord as it were, walking among us as community to offer us his healing power. At these moments we place ourselves in the way of grace much as the blind, sick, and lame used to come before Jesus with hope in their hearts and a supplication for help. We need these opportunities to experience God, not primarily in an intellectual way, which is pretty routine for us, but as presence and power.

Processions and other religious practices in community provide us with an opportunity to open our hearts and let down our guard with God. Through the most simple and mundane kind of everyday thing, just taking a walk through the neighborhood, we can meet the Lord among us and come to know and love him better.

Ponder:

How can I be part of a stronger community life, where we can meet the Lord together through prayer and fellowship?

Pray:

Lord, help me see you in the things of daily life and open my heart to your presence.

We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.

Copyright 2015 Julie Paavola

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About Author

Julie is a spiritual director, speaker and freelance writer. She has worked at parishes and at the Archdioceses of San Francisco and Indianapolis, and presently leads retreats at Fatima Retreat Center in Indianapolis. She enjoys doing monologue performances of the saints, including the Woman at the Well, St. Paul, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Ignatius. Julie has a Masters degree in Religion in Society from the Graduate Theological Union in Berekely and is trained to give the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. She lives in Carmel, Indiana with her family and is a regular contributor to CatholicMom.com.

2 Comments

  1. Kelly Guest on

    My Pentecostal husband got to experience an Eucharistic procession at a youth group retreat (I needed another male chaperone). While he admitted it was a very moving experience, he wondered why such fervor and devotion didn’t happen at every Mass where we actually received into our body the very being of Jesus. Great question. All I could say was unfortunately in the habitual practice of anything, we tend to loose the awe of it.
    I loved how you explain the “Gospel Alive.” There is a great movement of grace when Jesus moves among us. Maybe I can him to read your reflection. God bless you.

  2. Julie Paavola on

    Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for your comments. I believe that if Catholics were given more confidence and help to lead a deep spiritual life and see that as part of our everyday lives, we would have more love for the Christ in the Eucharist. The challenge of our times is to bring together our love of God and our secular lives. Walking through the streets with the Eucharist is a great sign of this, don’t you think? What would the response be if Catholics carried the Eucharist through the poorest neighborhoods while handing out bread?
    Blessings on you and your husband and good for him for asking tough questions!
    Julie

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