The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
Sunday readings here.
My guess is that many of us have found ourselves at one time or another in our lives facing very difficult circumstances, obstacles, or challenges.
Maybe you are in the midst of one of those chapters in your lives right now. Maybe you’ve felt like, or you feel right now that there is no way you can ever see yourself coming through whatever it is you were or are facing. Maybe during those times you have had people say something to you, something that you know was meant to be a word of consolation, but those words did not do much consoling. Maybe you have heard those words from close friends, family members or even from priests or religious, and maybe you’ve even said those words to others yourselves because you did not know what else to say.
The words that I am talking about are certainly well intentioned, but they ring hollow, and they probably accomplish more for the one speaking them than they do for the one hearing them. What are those words? “God does not give you anything that you can’t handle.” A lot of us have heard those words, haven’t we? Probably a lot of us have spoken those words as well. I know that I have spoken them, as a priest to people who were in need of consolation, but not for many years now.
Why? Because my life experience has taught me that they are simply not true, or at least they are not completely accurate. I have learned over and over again that God does indeed present me with challenges, with situations, with problems etc. etc. that I cannot handle by myself. He does so all the time. And why does He do this? Well, I cannot say that I have the absolute answer to this question, but I will offer two of my best thoughts.
First, let’s honestly look at things in our lives that we have handled completely by ourselves. How did they turn out? Did they turn out the way we wanted them to? More importantly, did they turn out the way God wanted them to? Secondly, and I think this is an even better explanation, God wants to be our strength. He wants us to come to Him always and especially in times of great pain, distress and confusion, because He knows that is what is best for us.
To make those words true we need to say something like this: God does indeed give us challenges that we cannot handle by ourselves, but we are never by ourselves. He is always there, ready to walk with us side by side, hand in hand to share our pain and burdens with us and even to provide us with Himself as nourishment along the way. That’s what we celebrate today, on this Solemnity of Corpus Christi: that Jesus is always there for us, as close to us and essential to us as food and drink. “Take and eat, this is my body; take and drink, this is my blood which will be shed for many.” He does indeed give us challenges that we cannot handle alone, but we are never alone.
-Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor