A man orders three drinks from the bartender. “I have a brother in Australia and one in the States. We made a vow that every Saturday night we’d still drink together. So right now, my brothers have three Guinness Stouts, and we’re drinking together.” This went on for weeks, until one day he came in and ordered only two. He drank them, then two more. The bartender said to him, “I’d just like to say that I’m sorry that one of your brothers died.” The man said, “Oh, me brothers are fine. I just quit drinking.”
When it comes to our weekly church celebrations, I trust we are using a better logic than the three brothers, though it puzzles me that some give up joining in the celebration just as whimsically.
In a homily on Corpus Christi Father Brendan McGuire relates the story of Bob, who celebrates a memory of the day when his brother pulled him up out of drowning waters. Every year he marks the anniversary with a special drink, recalling the exact details of event.
But as the years go by, he loses the details of his event until he only remembers to have a drink that “special” day.
As Christians we celebrate the new covenant in Christ Jesus. We remember that Christ pulled us up out of the drowning water of sin and death. To help us remember, the Church gave us an obligation to celebrate this event every Sunday.
But many do not really know what the celebration is about any more. Through the sheer repetition many no longer have a fresh memory of that wonderful rescue.
The Church wisely encourages us to celebrate great feasts like Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi and the Trinity. Recalling the scriptural stories and liturgically renewing the events refreshes our memories and transforms us like no empty ritual can.
McGuire challenges us “…to become the Blood of Christ poured out for others…That means that we are going to allow Christ to work in and through us this week.”
Each one of us will be challenged differently. Some of us will find it difficult to be joyful with our children or parents. For others it will be to their neighbours. Our commitment today is to be the body of Christ broken for others.
The world needs our leaven. If we allow Christ to transform us, the people who see us are going to say, ‘What the heck happened in there that these guys are coming out so full of joy and ready with zest for the world and to take on the Christian way of life?’”
That is what we are called to do. That is who we are called to be.