by Carol Powell
THERE ARE TWO feast days in June that illustrate so beautifully the essence of who God really is. I am referring to the feasts of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Both of these feasts exemplify the ongoing kenotic love of a God who never tires of pouring out love and mercy. Not satisfied with giving the last drop of His blood on Calvary, Jesus gave us His own Body and Blood in sign and symbol in the Eucharist. He knew that as human beings we need to touch and feel and eat in order to believe that we are always united with Him. “Live in Me and I in You” becomes an experienced reality. The Last Supper and the sacrifice of Calvary are extended over time and we are present at a spiritually eternal moment.
God Seeks to Walk with Us
What should the feast of Corpus Christi remind us of? So many people run to Israel to walk in the footsteps of the Son of God. Few remember that the Word of God seeks to come within us so that He may walk in our footsteps, eat at our tables and live in our lives. There is nothing wrong with wanting to walk the physical path that Jesus walked, but the point is that He walked that path so that He might walk everyone’s path after the Resurrection.
On the feast of Corpus Christi everyone bows down low and worships Christ present in the Eucharist. This is fine because we are worshipping God among us. However, we must not forget that the Eucharist is meant to be eaten, and we are called to become what we eat. We are also called to be Eucharist to others, to pour ourselves out as Jesus did, to practice God’s kenotic love.
It is fitting that the feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated only five days after Corpus Christi. Some people who don’t comprehend the significance of this feast in understanding who God is sometimes consider it to be overly sentimental. They do not understand the context of how this feast came to be. Jesus appeared to Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque at a time when the heresy of Jansenism was rampant. This heresy, which to this day has crept into Catholicism, created the illusion that God was a hard taskmaster and very difficult to please.
Contrary to this assumption, when Jesus appeared to Margaret Mary and showed her His Heart, He said, “Behold this heart which has loved so much and is loved so little in return.”
It is interesting to note that history reveals that as a child, Margaret Mary did not receive from her family the love she needed and was very much neglected. It is interesting that God chose her to deliver this message of tender love for humankind.
The feasts of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart assure us that we are loved by God – unconditionally and forever.
Powell and her husband are the directors of faith formation at Our Lady of Mercy Church, Forest Hills.