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The Power of Normality

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Sermon for Corpus Christi

It’s always at the Elevation of the Host when the little voice says to you, “You fool! Look at you gazing up at a little disc of bread. Look at you bowing down to a cup of water and wine! How pathetic!”

Truly, the Eucharist is the source for hilarity among those non-Christians who mock us. Truly, the Eucharist is a major concern to our beloved Protestant brethren who fear that we are committing idolatry.

Let’s do that, then. Let’s step outside and look at us bowing down to a bit of bread and a cup of wine.


What are we expecting to see when the Host is lifted up, or the chalice? Are we really expecting to see the change?

Did the Disciples see the change at the Last Supper?

Does St Paul mention a change in his second letter to the Corinthians?

If not, why do we expect one?

Or, rather, do we want to see the change and just get very frustrated that we don’t? After all, the lack of seeing the difference does make it a bit of a problem when we talk with Protestants. If no change can be seen, why should we suppose that it happens at all.

Yes, we should use the eyes of faith. St Thomas Aquinas says,

“Verbum caro panem verum 
Verbo carnem éfficit: 
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus déficit,
Ad firmándum cor sincérum
Sola fides súfficit.”

“The Word-Made-Flesh by a word 
makes the true bread become flesh, 
and wine become the Blood of Christ. 
And, if the sense fails,
to confirm the sincere heart
 faith alone is enough.”

Our Lord is very clear. He tells us through St John that His flesh is meat indeed and His blood drink indeed. At the Last Supper, He says of the bread, “this is My Body,” and of the cup, “this is My Blood of the New Testament.” This is what St Thomas is saying to us. Our senses might deceive us, but we know what Jesus has said and we have faith in Him.

When we find ourselves staring at bread and wine and those doubts set in, we do have to ask ourselves, “what are we expecting to see if things are really different?” Do we expect it to glow with some ethereal light? Do we expect to see sparks shooting from the chalice?

Or do we expect Christ Himself to be present in a completely normal way even as He walks among the people of Israel as a completely normal human being? The Word was made Flesh! Do we expect Him to look different from human beings if He came to be with us as a human being? He takes upon Himself normality. He takes upon himself the humdrum, every-day, boring, usual form that we have in order to work His greatest miracle of redeeming humanity from the clutches of Evil. That is the power of Christ’s normality!

If this is the case then we must expect the bread and wine to look completely normal in order for it to be the Body and Blood of Christ and to give us the grace of the sacrament that He promises us. We must expect to look at that little white disc and for it to smell and taste like unleavened bread. We must expect to taste a bit of watered-down wine, for, in that complete normality we truly take of the Body and Blood of Christ. In that normality, we are transformed. We become the new normal until we receive our final normality as guests at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

So take and eat. What do you see? Is all normal?



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