The Readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ:
When Polycarp had pronounced this amen, and so finished his prayer, those who were appointed for the purpose kindled the fire. And as the flame blazed forth in great fury, we, to whom it was given to witness it, beheld a great miracle, and have been preserved that we might report to others what then took place. For the fire, shaping itself into the form of an arch, like the sail of a ship when filled with the wind, encompassed as by a circle the body of the martyr. And he appeared within not like flesh which is burnt, but as bread that is baked, or as gold and silver glowing in a furnace.
Either God shall keep King Henry in that gracious frame of mind to continue to do me no harm, or else, if it be his pleasure that for my other sins I suffer in this case as I shall not deserve, then God’s grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly.
By the merits of Christ’s bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.
“Have you ever noticed,” said Dimble, “that the universe, and every little bit of the universe, is always hardening and narrowing and coming to a point?” His wife waited as those wait who know by long experience the mental processes of the person who is talking to them.
“I mean this,” said Dimble in answer to the question she had not asked.
“If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family—anything you like—at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.
Like in the poem about Heaven and Hell eating into merry Middle Earth from opposite sides . . . how does it go? Something about ‘eat every day’ . . . ‘till all is somethinged away.’ It can’t be eaten; that wouldn’t scan. My memory has failed dreadfully these last few years. Do you know the bit, Margery?”
“What you were saying reminded me more of the bit in the Bible about the winnowing fan. Separating the wheat and the chaff. Or like Browning’s line: ‘Life’s business being just the terrible choice.’”
“Exactly! Perhaps the whole time-process means just that and nothing else. But it’s not only in questions of moral choice. Everything is getting more itself and more different from everything else all the time. Evolution means species getting less and less like one another. Minds get more and more spiritual, matter more and more material. Even in literature, poetry and prose draw further and further apart.”
Do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.
The Readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Umbram fugat véritas,
Noctem lux elíminat.
Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
Light dispels the gloom of night.
O sacred banquet
Tardis and Tesseract of eternity
Feast of Ramandu
Last Homely House before the wilds
坎 坤 乾
Gift of heaven
formed of earth
Made by man
Transformed by God
Fed to man
Living on earth
Rising to heaven
Manna fallen and spice that flows
Bread of heaven
Fulfillment of the mystery of Earth
What is fallen and buried
Rises again a thousandfold
Gold of the Alchemists
Palantir of Westernesse
sword in stone embedded
Showing Kingly Priests who dare to touch
Chalice of Salvation
Cauldron of Immortality
Core Ansc of Divine Hospitality
The true vine
the fruit of salvation
the fullness of harvest
Fulfillment of the Mystery of Water
What is birthed in water
Dies in wine
And is reborn
Sacrament most holy
Gate of heaven
Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
Quantum isti, tantum ille:
Nec sumptus consúmitur.
Whether one or thousands eat:
All receive the self-same meat:
Nor the less for others leave.
The Readings for the 5th Monday of Ordinary Time (B2)
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the sanctuary, that a cloud filled the house of the Lord, And the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.
In 1985 or maybe 86, activists attended mass with John Cardinal O’Connor at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. They prayed alongside of everyone, stood for the hymns and sat silent and respectful through the sermon. (One Episcopal Priest in collar stood for the whole sermon and got his picture in the paper as a protesting priest… but he wasn’t Roman Catholic… a thing never quite made clear.) Then, at communion time, one of the activists received the consecrated Host and threw It on the ground, and trod It underfoot.
A visibly shaken – in fact near tears – Cardinal retrieved the dirty and broken Host from the floor and consumed It before continuing to give out communion.
The God of the Old Testament scares folks. Don’t worry: I’m not going to get into that odd 2,000 year old heresy, always new, always wrong idea that Jesus was somehow theologically different from the God of the Old Testament. I mean, the God of the Old Testament tends to show up in clouds and lightning; floods and tornadoes, earthquakes and fiery wheels.
Cute baby, cooing with angels; Jesus grows up and heals folks. He says (some) nice things. He’s very different from the fiery wheels. He’s relatable. He’s not (often) scary. He’s also funny. He disses his family. He jokes his friends. His miracles are (mostly) ones we all would like to see. And he has a cool, righteous anger. Whips? Who hasn’t wanted to use whips sometimes to clear a room, maybe even a room at church?
But the orthodox, historical Christian, is that this Jesus is the same God as that Fiery Wheels guy. In fact, the Orthodox will tell you full on that it was Jesus (pre-incarnation) who was walking with Adam. It was God the Son who made the universe (all things were made by him and without him was not anything made that has been made). If you are alive (in him was life…) it is because of God the Son. That’s Jesus.
So the Christian teaching is, a bit, scary. Just a bit… but there’s this other thing: Jesus’ humility. We hear this said, over and over, but we do not understand, we do not get what it can mean for the God of All Creation, the Lord of all Time and Space to be humble. He was humble in his passion, subject to spittings, torture, and death.
Come to Adoration.
Kneel in silence before the One Who Is.
The God of gods
Lord of lords
King of kings
Summum et Perfectisimum Bonum (the Totality and Perfection of Good)
Present in fullness of Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity…
In a flat disc of bread. That can be subject to torture and being spat upon, or trod upon. Mute and omnipotent, the Word of God accepts still our blasphemy and mocking.
This is the God of the New Testament and of the Old.
This is love.
The face of eternity.
The heart of grace, wounded for us.
Tunc ait Salomon : Dominus dixit ut habitaret in nebula.Then Solomon said: The Lord said that he would dwell in a cloud. But here is a Greater Thing than Solomon ever had or imagined.
Fully God, fully subject to human violence, also to Human Love, the humility of God on display, the Majesty of Infinity made finite and real by his will.
This is Love.
Before this throne
I will come
you daily call me
I cannot but come
your call is all
I sleeping hear or waking
here angels surround
saints and blesseds watch
my sins must waft
a stink to heaven
and at this throne
judgement surely comes.
still your faithful sheep
round me kneel
in calmness, grace
and none recoil
my imposture you must
all of you must
I have sinned against
and before thee
the housling cloth
I catch your eye on calvary
and turn down
that even now
you most clearly see
Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesu.
You raise me up
wash me and hold
in your hand,
and part my lips
and fed me
your very flesh
fills my eyes
my soul is healed
how can I hold to earth
how can I to time adhere
what is time and space collapsed
eternity enters me
my soul more spacious than the heavens
Before this throne
I will come
Jesu mercy then
clothed and in my right mind
I rise from your feet
and am sent forth
not me but you
not me but you
not me but you
a message to shout from housetops
a gospel to proclaim.
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
You may know that the laws of Kashrut, or how to make and keep food Kosher, require all blood to be drained from the meat. The Blood is the life force and it is sacred to God. For the life of all flesh is in the blood. Therefore I said to the children of Israel: you shall not eat the blood of any flesh at all, because the life of the flesh is in the blood, and whosoever eateth it, shall be cut off. Leviticus 17:14
Jesus would have known that law. Would have know blood is not allowed, and eating human flesh? Never! We can be reasonably certain, therefore, that Jesus never would have said this, right? Someone made it up later to justify their liturgical life.
So the Sophists and game players would have us say. They reject the love of God given to us in the Mass because to accept it… they know: they have to accept the whole package. So they play games with the text. They make up their own mythologies about how the text came to be and why we can ignore it. Having eliminated all the texts they don’t like (moral teachings, miracles, etc) they are left with a politician who sounds remarkably like Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders: somewhat boring, left of center, and oddly anti-religious. The people who buy it are, themselves, remarkably like Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders: somewhat boring, left of center, and oddly anti-religious. Amusingly, the reverse is also true: it’s possible to edit the Bible in such a way as to end up with Donald Trump.
Neither side wants to admit that they are doing what the other side is also doing. Neither side can stand to look in a mirror. The Jesus Seminar is no better than Westboro Baptist Church: both equally fundamentalist, both equally committing idolatry before the mental ejaculations of their theological onanism.
They both reject the literal truth of today’s Gospel.
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Here, at this table in the forms of bread and wine, is God himself; the very flesh of God, the very blood of Him who even now, in full ambient perichoresis with the Father and the Spirit, reigns in caelestium, terrestrium et infernorum, in heaven, on the earth, and in hell. Here, on this altar. Now.
Here, though you cannot see, the entirety of heaven sings in awe, the entirety of hell quakes in fear; angels on either side of you are in awe of our God and of you whom he has blessed to stand in his presence. Demons running in fear, turn in wonder to see you in flesh and blood come near.
Here are your loved ones gone before, here are those whom we would most dearly love to see also standing unseen with us. In this very moment all of heaven and earth, all of eternity and infinity, meet here.
All space and all time which cannot contain him, all universes, all eternities too small. Is here: in a bit of bread the size of a quarter, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Can you see the humility of our God?
Can you bear the love of our God?
To lay flat and silent before all, to be chewed – the Greek says “gnawed” – like a child getting the last bit of Popsicle off a stick, or a man ripping the meat off of spare ribs.
This is our God.
We consumer our God.
Our God is a consuming fire.
This meal will not leave you alone.
You may come to it as you are.
But you may not leave it unchanged.
God will get into you. God will tear you limb from limb, passion from flesh, soul from body, spirit from will, and will remake you into his own lover, someone who cannot be without him, as a fish cannot be without water, as a song cannot be without air.
God will gnaw on you, will find the savor in you, will suck the very marrow of life from your old shell of death and will make you anew into the living members of his body.
Will become this bread
This meal consumes you.
You are what you eat.
And you will give yourself to others as living bread.
Wine will pour forth from your heart like love and all will come and drink.
Your life will be sacrificed so that they may live. You will discover love in you. Because God is in you and you in him.
Or, maybe Jesus never said this and we can all have sex, and die.