Parishioners have been pleased with our new protocols for Mass, with one side of the church keeping social distancing and masks, while the other side has no social distancing and masks optional if you are fully vaccinated. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. I hope that people will feel comfortable returning: while virtual participation is better than nothing, experiencing the Body of Christ, both in the community gathered and the Eucharist, is essential to our worship experience.
Our Gospel today gives us two agricultural parables for the Reign of God: one about a seed, which is planted but then grows without the farmer knowing or controlling what is happening and the other about a mustard seed, which, while tiny, grows into a huge bush.
It helps to know the context Mark was addressing with these parables. The early Jewish Christians continued believing, as did the Jews, that if things were going well, God was pleased and blessing you. However, things were not going well: the Christians were rejected in Jerusalem and being killed in Rome. They were discouraged and their faith shaken. Mark was assuring them, through these parables, that God is in control, that the Reign of God is in His hands, and that all will be okay.
That message is summarized quite well by Paul in our second reading: “we walk by faith and not by sight.” This is a message we need to hear today. The pandemic has turned many things upside down. Gun violence, racism, inequity, injustice, partisanship, division both in our country and Church – it can seem like our world is unraveling. However, our faith tells us that God is in control and that, ultimately, all will be okay.
That does not mean we don’t have to do anything. We have to plant our little seeds. We have to live Gospel virtues such as love, forgiveness, and generosity, doing our little part to help the Reign of God grow.
As St. Julian of Norwich said, All will be well and all manner of things will be well, but we need to cooperate. I invite us to reflect on how well we are doing at planting the little seeds that will help bring about the Reign of God. Our country and world desperately need these seeds. Let us support each other in prayer, as we struggle to do so.
Church sign of the week: The will of God will never take you where the love of God will not protect you.
This is our second weekend with new Covid protocols. I thank everyone for their cooperation. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
I enjoyed celebrating the graduation Mass this past Thursday. I promised the graduates that we would accompany them in prayer as they begin a new phase of life. Congratulations! Thank you to their parents and the staff at Wauwatosa Catholic for a great job of mentoring them.
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). Our three readings bring together the significance of this feast, tying together all of God’s relationship with humanity.
The reading from Exodus presents the first covenant God made with His people through Moses. Blood was splashed on the altar and on the people, sealing the covenant. In the second reading, the author of Hebrews explains that Christ is the eternal High Priest. Since He Himself was blameless, His sacrifice was a once and for all offering for the salvation of all of us. No need for anything else. The Gospel is Mark’s version of the Last Supper: in anticipation of His death, Christ’s institutes the “new and eternal covenant of His Blood.”
What does this mean for us? First, it means we are redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice: He offered Himself up for us. Second, through the institution of the Eucharist, Christ incorporated us into His Body and gives us the food we need to live as His disciples. Just as the food we eat nourishes our physical bodies and gives us the health and strength we need to live a productive life, the spiritual food of Christ’s Body and Blood nourishes us spiritually and gives us the spiritual health and strength we need to live Gospel values and bring the Good News to others.
It is not easy to always think of others. It is not easy to wash feet. It is not easy to forgive. It is not easy to love others as we love ourselves. For that reason, we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us (which we celebrated two weeks ago on Pentecost) and the Eucharist to strengthen and sustain us.
The Lord wants us to succeed. He gives us the help we need. Am I taking the best possible advantage of these great supports the Lord has given me?
With grateful hearts, let us thank the Lord for His support. May the Body and Blood of Christ bring us to everlasting life!
Church sign of the week: The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.