Homily – August 19, 2018

Today’s short gospel calls us to think again on the wonder of the Eucharist we are celebrating. When we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death o Lord until you come again.

On this altar, at this Mass bread is more than bread, wine is more than wine, they are the body and blood of Christ. When we hold out an empty hand we receive Christ and Christ lives in us and we live in him.

The ancient church said this to those who received Holy Communion – receive who you are, become what you receive, the body of Christ. We are one bread, one body. This is what St. Paul teaches. Comparing the church, the community to the human body he writes; if the ear were to say because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body or if the foot were to say because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body that would not make it any less a part of the body. Again Paul teaches ‘if one member suffers the whole body suffers with it.

Supposing the head of the family is a politician or a lawyer of a financial advisor – a person in a position of trust and is found out to be on the take, embezzling his clients. What an impact that would have on his family. His wife’s social life is over. His children couldn’t face going to school. Because of his criminal activities his family is shamed, humiliated.

Imagine how embarrassed is the family of that deranged young man who mowed down and killed people on Yonge Street. He’s brought shame on his family and the hostility of their neighbours.

If you’ve been watching the news or reading the papers recently then you must know we are a wounded family, an embarrassed family, a shamed family. The whole world knows we have been let down, betrayed by our leaders. The cardinal of Glasgow, the cardinal of Sydney and the retired Cardinal of Washington have been found guilty of sex crimes against minors and others. Many bishops around the world are known to have covered up charges of sexual abuse leveled against priests keeping their crimes secret and transferring them to other parishes. They did their best to avoid lawsuits showing little is any sympathy to the victims of these criminals. Pope Francis has asked for the resignation of the bishops of Chile.

The buck stops at the papal throne.

A recent editorial in a Catholic paper summed it all up by saying, ‘We are the body of Christ, and we are the church. It is time that we demand that bishops claim their true vocations as servants to the people of God. And they must live that way.

At this time, it seems laity can do very little to effect the changes needed to bring about the solutions to the large issues that plague the church now — careerism, abuse of power, lack of transparency, lack of accountability.

Sharing our family meal together, nourished by our common Holy Communion we pray that our Holy Father and the bishops of the church be courageous enough to root out those leaders, be they cardinals, bishops or priests who have brought shame and pain on we who are the body of Christ.