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Corpus Christi, June 9-10, 2012

posted Jun 11, 2012, 1:30 PM by fathermark@stmaryshuntingburg.org

            There are 150 psalms in the Old Testament Book of Psalms.

Although the ancient Jews believed that all 150 of them were written by King David himself, they are probably a broad collection of hymns used in ancient worship, poetry, and prayers ... brought together through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The psalms run the whole gamut of human emotions.

There are praise-psalms ... and psalms of repentance ... joyful psalms ... doom-and-gloom psalms ...

... which is why the Church is able to choose from among them each Sunday for the weekly response at Mass.

Each week, at Mass, the psalm is chosen as a response to the first reading ... and as something that, in some way, points to the "themes" in that week's readings.

 

            Now, since the psalm at Mass is used a response to the first reading, it's not usually the focus of a homily.

But the psalm too is as much the inspired Word of God as the other Scripture readings ... and so, today, I'd like to reflect on today's psalm: Psalm 116.

 

            The selection of Psalm 116 that the Church chooses for today begins with a question:

"How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?"

How shall I respond to all the good things that God has showered on me?

How can I, in some small way, try to repay the Lord for his blessings to me?

 

            The psalmist's question, of course, challenges us to look at the blessings that you and I have received in life.

It challenges us to look at the good things that we have in life precisely as blessings ... not just as good things that we ourselves made happen ... or that just happened to" fall into our laps" ...

The psalmist's question challenges us to look at how God has blessed us in so many ways.

And, I suspect, for most of us—despite our problems, our headaches, or our heartaches—all of us could come up with a very long list of blessings ...

... and, not just material, physical blessings ... but the blessings of people and relationships, family and friends ... the blessings of faith and mercy and God's infinite, tender, compassionate love for each of us.

 

            Today, of course, on the Feast of Corpus Christi—the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ—the Church uses this psalm to invite us to ponder in a special way, the blessing that you and I have in the Eucharist ... in the Mass ... in Holy Communion ...

... the awesome blessing that you and I have to receive—sinners though we are ... the blessing of receiving the precious Body and Blood of Our Savior ...to be united with Him ... to share his very life ...

... not just "spiritually" ... not just "symbolically" ... but really ... truly ... literally ... the Flesh and the Blood of the Son of God in the form of bread and wine ...

 

            "How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?" the psalmist ponders ...

"How is it that I should respond to all of these wonderful gifts showered on me by the Lord ... so abundantly ... so undeservedly ... ?

And in the rest of the verses of today's psalm, the psalmist sets out to answer that question.

 

            "How shall I make a return for all the good that the Lord has done for me?"

"The cup of salvation I will take up."

The cup of salvation, I will take up.

In the context of this Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi ... I will make a return by actually celebrating the gift of this Sacrament ... actually eating the flesh and drinking the blood ... reverently ... attentively ... faithfully ...

... not just when it is convenient to me ... not just if nothing interferes ... not just when I feel like it.

I will recognize how blessed I am, and I will "take up the cup of salvation" ... the cup of thanksgiving ... the cup of blessing ... at the Church's Eucharist each and every Sunday.

 

            "How shall I make a return to the Lord for his goodness to me?

The cup of salvation I will take up ... and I will call on the name of the Lord.

I will call on the name of the Lord!

In my need, I will call upon his help.

In my joys, I will call upon him in thanksgiving.

In my sin, I will call upon his mercy.

In my lowliness, I will call upon him in worship.

In my faith ... in my membership in the Body of Christ ... in my baptismal commitment ... I will gather with God's Holy People ... and I will call upon the name of the Lord.

 

            "How shall I make a return to the Lord for his goodness to me?

The cup of salvation I will take up... and I will call on the name of the Lord.

My vows to the Lord I will fulfill in the presence of all his people."

My vows to the Lord I will fulfill.

How shall I make a return to the Lord?

I will live my baptismal commitment.

I will claim the power of the Spirit of God, given to me in Confirmation.

I will live each day as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I will be a Christian in my daily life for all the world to see.

Strengthened by the Eucharist, I will make a return to the Lord by living what I claim to be.

 

            Today,  we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi.

We thank the Lord, in a special way, for the gift of His Body and Blood given to us in the Eucharist.

But each and every time that we gather for the Eucharist, we gather to give thanks for all of our blessings.

We recall how mightily blessed we are ... in so many ways ... at so many levels.
And so today, again, in a special way, let's make the Psalmist's question our own:

How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good things that he has done for me?

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