Gn 14:18-20 , 1 Cor 11:23-26 ,Lk 9:11b-17 are available here.)
Food for Thought
On this weekend’s celebration of Corpus Christi we might do well to reflect upon the Body and Blood of Christ offered for us and sustaining and enabling us as members of the same. For me, this weekend pulls me in two different directions. First, I have been called back to New Jersey to celebrate the Ordination Mass of my junior year high school religion teacher, who will then celebrate his First Mass at our memorable Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft.
I owe a debt of gratitude to this teacher who was part of a very intentional faith formation process in my high school years. It is also with a sense of shared responsibility that the two of us separated by many years of education now find ourselves more intentionally aligned to the same tasks and responsibilities of parish ministry. Our past and present have led us to a common future that was invisible to us all those years ago.
The second place that my attention is drawn is back to my primary ministry: this parish of Christ the Redeemer. This weekend we are offering Religious Education registration after all the masses. Once again, the task of calling to mind the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and continuing the work of forming disciples through catechesis is upon us. What is marvelously raised up during consecration and ordained in “sacred hands” also comes down to be in our midst and our responsibility to give the multitudes “something to eat.”
“Give them some food yourselves...”
We have journeyed fairly recently through the Easter Season hearing as if for the first time the impact of the Resurrection stories upon the hearts and minds of the first disciples. Jesus’ Ascension was not a reprieve from the mission, but a period of hope and preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost and its outpouring of the Spirit’s gifts could easily stand in for any of our sacramental celebrations in which that same hope and preparation culminates in the Spirit who comes down upon us so that these gifts may become Christ’s Body and Blood offered up for the Father's loving embrace.
As mysterious as sacraments are, they are also quite revealing. They are outward signs of an inward reality. They make visible what is invisible: Jesus Christ, the First Sacrament. It is he who makes visible the invisible God. So also the Church, through the Holy Spirit, is the Sacrament of Christ making visible the invisible God today. It is through the Church and its actions that others come to see Christ. One of the Church’s basic actions visible at the parish level is to share in mission through Religious Education.
Twelve Wicker Baskets
The miracle of feeding the multitudes is a testimony to our hope and God’s abundant care for us. It would be wonderful if everything were as simple as calling the multitudes to sit together in groups and then letting “God happen.” Our various groups in the religious education program hunger for a chance to experience this same abundance and hope. And they need the Church, our parish, to show up and make visible and real this hope and care.
Catechists, parents and parish adults, are needed to live out their responsibilities in faith to echo (which is the meaning of catechesis) the faith. We are not looking for theologians and professors. We are simply looking to carry out our mission to make Christ visible to the world and to our parish children in particular by echoing what we have seen and heard.
From God’s abundance there ought to be a call to “Taste and See”, to “See and Believe”, to have God’s promise “Fulfilled in our hearing.” Do we have 12 baskets full to nourish and sustain our parish programs of the past and present for a common future? What is invisible needs to be made visible. While registration continues, so too the need for catechists continues. Come and be seen, counted, and fed. Come and be food for others.
Jay Cuasay, Director of Faith Formation
(Readings for Sunday, June 2: The Feast of Corpus Christi are available here.)