When I was young, one of the highlights of the year was the Rathnew Corpus Christi Procession. It appeared that people came from all over to attend. For weeks beforehand the excitement in the village was tangible. Hedges were trimmed, places were cleaned up, bunting was hung, little altars were set up on the streets. It was a community effort and the sense of joy was everywhere. I have no doubt that this sense of joy was multiplied in cities and towns all over the Catholic world.
Though it was never pointed out, what was significant about this form of praise was the procession, a people walking together, on the move together with the common purpose of expressing their faith. This was community, this was the Body of Christ in procession together. And we never knew to behold the community and to say: Amen.
We read in today’s 2nd Reading, “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” (1Cor.10-17) The apostle Paul was strong in his teaching on the community being the Body of Christ, with every member having a special role for the good of all.
Today as we celebrate this feast honouring the Body and the Blood of Christ, let us remember it is the Body broken and given for others that gives life. And today we might recall the many processions of the Body of Christ in our world and to each answer a simple AMEN.
The lines of asylum seekers trekking across countries and continents to find a better future – Amen
The numbers fleeing war and starvation to find safety and survival – Amen
The lines of children on their way to class – Amen
The people moving through the supermarket line, or the soup kitchen line – Amen
The lines of young men and women being forced into war – Amen
The lines of those who volunteer their time to helping others – Amen
The line of the stars and planets in our universe in constant motion – Amen
The lines of people in wheelchairs or on walkers moving through the nursing homes – Amen
The live processions of the Body of Christ, blessed and broken, are endless. Let us recognise them and say – Amen.
Should you meet someone who is lamenting the passing of the traditional Corpus Christi procession, help them to understand that the Body of Christ is in constant procession every day of the year. We have the chance to behold it and to say – Amen.
When Jesus talks about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, perhaps he is simply saying, ‘imbibe me, for I am everywhere around you’.
Elizabeth Ferguson OP