Monday, June 15, 2009

The silent preaching of Corpus Christi

Let me tell you a little story. I love going to the Catholic Family Expo and on Friday after hearing confessions for a few hours we were all getting ready for Mass with the Archbishop. As we are about to start they let the Archbishop know that his homily was going to be recorded. He responded, "I don't know if it will be any good." Fast forward to homily time. The Archbishop walked in front of the altar knelt and then prostrated himself on the ground, flat out on the floor for a few minutes. When he stood up I thought to myself that without making a recordable sound he just preached a fantastic homily!
This was a homily that was preached by four young men the very next day as they prostrated themselves before the altar at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in just about the greatest and coolest celebration in the Church - Priesthood Ordination. I love all those guys but in a special way I know the new Father Ernest Cibelli. He and I both have the same home parish, St. Louis the King in Clarksville. There are now six (6) priests in our Archdiocese that share that home parish, wow! I hope St. Paul's can say that one day.
Then the next day at Father Cibelli's first Mass on the glorious Feast of Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord) I heard another great homily, this time by Fr. Erik Arnold. Without knowing it he gave me the missing piece in my theological understanding of Original Sin, Conscience, Redemption, and Salvation. The Mass was literally better and more solemn than most of what I experienced at the Vatican. It included a Eucharistic Procession around the parish. This procession was another homily, that we are called to bring the Eucharist out into the world with everything we do and say.
All of this reminds me that the ultimate homily ever given was by one who streched flat out upon a cross could hardly breathe. The simple act of bowing His head and the pouring out of His Blood was the greatest homily ever given. The Archbishop and our four new priests repeated that homily this weekend. Inspired by their example and strengethened by Holy Communion can you and I preach the same homily? Can we too lay down our lives in service of God and His people?

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