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SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS | Jesus’ Body and Blood forms a bridge between heaven and earth

Like Jesus, we need to judge things by heaven’s standards and rise above the world’s false dichotomies

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The feast of Corpus Christi — the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — celebrates how the Body of Jesus forms a bridge: a bridge from heaven to earth for the Son of God, and a bridge from earth to heaven for us.

In St. Catherine of Siena’s book of Dialogues, God the Father explains to her how, after the fall of Adam and Eve, a great flood of sin separated humanity from heaven. But, desiring our salvation, the Father says: “And, so, wishing to remedy your great evils, I have given you the Bridge of my Son, in order that, passing across the Flood, you may not be drowned.”

On June 8, I will ordain the new permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Deacons, too, are meant to form a kind of bridge. As one author puts it: “The deacon stands at the altar and prepares the gifts with clean hands, but he stands also where the practical need is greatest, getting his hands very dirty … By being visibly at home in both places, the deacon embodies the great message of Vatican II, namely that the whole world is taken up in what happens at the altar and that the sacrifice of the altar is celebrated for the sanctification of the whole world.” Deacons are ordained for this kind of bridge-building between the mysteries of the faith and the world. But deacons are also meant to stand as a living witness: This kind of bridge-building is not theirs alone, but is an element of the identity of the entire Church!

On June 7, we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As the home diocese of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne — a Religious of the Sacred Heart — this feast day ought to be special to us! The heart of Jesus calls out to the heart of every person in the world. But He asks us — with our lives — to serve as bridges between His heart and the hearts of everyone.

In a series of “mic drop” moments that we read in the Gospel this week, He teaches us something important about how to do so. The “influencers” of Jesus’ time are trying to back Him into a corner. “Should we pay the census tax to Caesar or not? A woman had been married to seven brothers; in the resurrection, whose wife will she be? Which is the greatest commandment?”

In every case, Jesus is offered a set of false alternatives: No matter which one He picks, He will cause trouble for Himself, and His questioners will cause trouble for Him. But in every case, because He judges by heavenly logic, Jesus rises above the false alternatives and escapes the trap.

There’s a lesson for us in that! Today’s cultural influencers try to back us into a corner as well. Like Jesus, we need to judge things by the standards of heaven and rise above the false dichotomies of worldly logic. When we do so, we aren’t rejecting the world; we’re building bridges to heavenly horizons. Let’s try to do that more often.

From the Archive Module

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