Dissonance has become routine for us now: there are protest rallies and pandemic warnings, demands and losses, side by side. Credibility and confusion are nearly synonymous, and subjectivity often disguises truth. Who to believe? What to believe? How to live in a world like this? We condemn what we have been given, loathe one another’s perspectives, find home on the soap box of media. What is possible now? How can we make a beginning of a world better than this? On this Corpus Christi Sunday, there are clues.
Re-discovering what we have in common as human beings might be the first step. We are masters at discovering and celebrating difference. And yet, over these past weeks of lockdown, we have proven that we can comply with directives for the good of all and that we reserve the right to differ. We are experts at using social media to bare souls and expose injustice. But we use it for labelling, derision, negation and bullying as well. And sometimes, we do not see the difference. We have challenged and discredited our social institutions, and we are rewriting our history. But we are not all quite in agreement over either of those. So how can we mind a moment and name what it is that makes us human?
Corpus Christi is the reminder that we are all happily and hopelessly human. We share a comon need: food and sustenance. Corpus Christi is a celebration of what binds us together as humans; it is the feast that invites us to look at the sameness, to discover as Paul did, that “…we, although there are many of us, are one single body, for we all share in the one loaf.” (2 Cor 10) To imagine, in our world of difference, discouragement, disdain and discrimination, that we are actually all one body is an enormous movement towards recognizing that which we have in common.
Corupus Christi is also the reminder that we need one another; within that single body, we cannot be whole without all the parts. The body system is complicated and multi-faceted. Imagining that enables us to see the uniqueness of each member of the human family, to appreciate the depth of need for one another and the possibilities for expressing that with gratitude and understanding. And there is the practical point that if we are indeed one body, then protecting and preserving that is a responsibility that falls to all of us.
For Catholics, there is the final point as well: we belong to God as fully as we belong to one another. The belief that God exists, cares, and invites us to co-create our world gives power to the understanding that we need one another. It also provides actionable steps: it is ours to choose to be attentive to the needs of each part of the body, to care as lovingly for one another as God does for us.
That is a tall order. In reality, the presence of the Eucharist, that central element in every service, is the gift of the one loaf, the gift that noursihes us. We sustain one another in the way God sustains us: with the one loaf.