St. Augustine Catholic Church
Sunday, June 14, 2020
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Dear Church family,
This is one of my favorite feast days, the Feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. We have those words said to us each time we receive Him in Holy Communion. Church, we are getting back together for the second time and we are keeping our social distancing requirement of six-foot spacing, but we know that there is so much Corona going around as a Pandemic disease so we just pray and pray. Some people have told me that many people in their lives have died, so they are being still and staying at home. There are a lot of people who are not going anywhere because they know it is dangerous. But today’s feast is special to me because I can say, as I have probably told you before, that this is my 75th anniversary of receiving Jesus—WOW!—in Holy Communion, the body and blood of Christ. I received Him 75 years ago right up to this day. We must realize that there is a challenging attitude of doing Love and giving of one’s self so that we can proclaim the word of God.
Church, an interesting little side bit was last Thursday, which was the feast day of the new apostle who took the place of Judas, whose name was Barnabas. We hear him in the scriptures as he points the way to God (Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3). It is rather interesting because the little reflection of the day that went with the mass in the Give Us This Day book, tells us that we, like Barnabas, point the way. The author calls us a Jewish-Yiddish word, a “mensch”. This is a good human being—someone of integrity and honor. A real, solid human–a person you would like to be, glad to have in your life, someone to take home to meet your family. We reflected that a “mensch” is like Barnabas was, who spread the Good News. And we are so excited that we are getting a new archbishop and we hope that he will really want to spread the Good News and we can call him a “mensch”. We are “mensches,”too. Here is what a “mensch” has to be. Our reading of the Acts of the Apostles, last Thursday, could be translated as “Barnabas was a ‘mensch’, filled with the Holy Spirit.” We are filled with the Holy Spirit, also.
So how does someone become a “mensch”? St. Barnabas points the way. Now you will want to be a “m-e-n-s-c-h” (put this word in your vocabulary). A “mensch” sees all reality as an event of the grace of God. That is beautiful to see God in everything. Then all life is a gift and every life situation is perceived as a moment of the unfolding of God’s goodness, neither cynical nor pathetic. A “mensch” is graceful and moves in beauty! Wouldn’t we all like to be like that? Moving in beauty to the word of God and loving in God’s love. Some more thoughts about what a “mensch” is: a child of encouragement which is literally what the name Barnabas means—encouraging others to be faithful to the Lord with firmness of heart. Barnabas did just that and we are doing that too. An aspiring “mensch” does the same, encouraging those of buckling knees and feeble faith. Sometimes we need a strong person to keep us going in the faith. One that will raise us up and give us courage to stand up for what is just and we can think of how we can enter into the demonstrations. I have called a couple of parishioners and asked them if they were going to a peaceful demonstration, I would be glad to go along with them, just to stand up and be counted. So a “mensch” would be that kind of person. We know that Barnabas strenuously preached and gave flesh to the God of Love, in season and out. So not only was Barnabas, the new apostle, a “mensch,” but we are too. He and those he served were called “Christians” for the first time on his visit to Antioch. We are Christians filled with the Holy Spirit and we point the way to Christ. So all of you good “menschers” keep claiming that title which is just a title of awe that God is so “real down in your soul”, from an old spiritual song, “REAL in my soul today!” Love you and keep growing in the Lord. Receive communion as a sign to always be able to go out and Love. I know this was a little bit longer message, but I quoted from a priest named Father Richard and his ideas about being a “mensch” and I just had to share them with you. God bless you and keep you growing and I hope you got all the way through this Pastor’s Pen, you wonderful “mensches” of God. Amen. Alleluia!
Love, Father Bob