We have spent months living in unaccustomed ways. Social distancing and physical distancing are unnatural. Lockdowns have made us realized that as people, we are not meant to be alone. We need to be with other people. We need other people. Our lives are interlinked. Today is Corpus Christi. We celebrate humanity as one single body. In this one body we are in spiritual communion also with the Holy Trinity. And we learn that everyone has a space in this body.
“The fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf.” (Second Reading)
We cannot wait to exit our lockdowns, to return to our offices and for shops to reopen, hoping that life outside will quickly return to what it was before. For many there will not be a job to return to. And many shops have sadly closed for good. This is the new reality; a harsh economic climate awaits. We are also waiting for church doors to open and for public masses to resume. And when they do, some may never return while others who had been away will come back. This is also a new reality; beneath what we see there can be spiritual turmoil.
Corpus Christi reminds us that we are the Eucharist. We must be bread and be church to one another. We are all interlinked in this one body. As lay people we are called to focus on our immediate world. For all of us, our immediate worlds have changed. There are people we know, if not ourselves, who are having a tough time financially, emotionally, and spiritually. To these people who we know, we are called to reach out; to be bread and be church to them.
To be bread and to be church now is to address immediate needs. We are called to be church outside the space of worship and the room of prayer. It is a time for change, a time for deeds. Instead of saying, “I will pray for you”, we are called to be answers to their prayers. For those in our immediate world who need money, it would be church if we can give some. If we have none to spare ourselves, we can always give time by spending time with them to bring emotional comfort. If we have been giving, we can give more than what we have given. And it is also not a shame to receive. After all, we share in the one loaf.
Being in lockdowns have made us realized that the church is not in physical buildings but in us. At our last mass, after receiving the Body of Christ we were sent out into the world. Little did we know that the doors were to close behind us. Mass – “Ite, missa est” – Go you are sent. We are sent to be bread and be church to our immediate worlds. Today, there is a different world out there so we cannot remain the same Church. Let this pandemic be the yeast that grow us as bread.