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SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS | We are called to bring Jesus to people that they might rejoice to know His presence

The eucharistic processions of Corpus Christi are ways we can follow Mary’s example and bring Christ in a visible way to the world

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On May 31, we celebrate the feast of the Visitation: Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visits Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist.

Reading St. Luke’s account carefully, we can see how Mary is presented as a living symbol of the Ark of the Covenant. I won’t go into the details. (The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible has a beautiful and brief treatment of the matter.) Suffice it to say that the Ark of the Covenant, for the Jewish people, brought God’s presence into the midst of the people in a special way; St. Luke shows how Mary lives that same reality — bringing God’s presence into the midst of His people — in a new and deeper way in the Visitation.

We’re called to extend that same principle: to live, in our own lives, what Mary did in the Visitation. Mary brought Jesus to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth rejoiced in this visitation; we, too, are called to bring Jesus to people, that they might rejoice to know His presence. One simple way to do this is to bring Holy Communion to the homebound or those in a nursing home. Then, in a very obvious way, we become living symbols of what Mary did in the Visitation: We bring Jesus to people! But there are more subtle ways to do it, as well.

In the same vein, on June 2 we will celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi — the Body and Blood of Christ. It’s an especially important feast this year, as we participate in the National Eucharistic Revival. One of the traditional events associated with Corpus Christi is the eucharistic procession through neighborhoods.

Here, again, we’re called to live that principle in our own way. In a eucharistic procession, we bring Christ in a very visible way out to the world. We’re all called to do that, in some way, through our lives: Our words and deeds should make Christ visible to our neighbors. The way we do that, in our own lives, doesn’t involve a big procession, but it needs to be just as real.

Twice this week, we hear Jesus ask: “What do you want me to do for you?” He says it to James and John, who go on to ask for something that Jesus cannot grant: to sit at His right and left in His glory. He says it to Bartimaeus, who asks for something that Jesus can and does grant: the ability to see.

Jesus asks that question to each of us, as well. In fact, that’s one of the reasons Mark places these episodes back-to-back in his Gospel: to pose the question to us.

How do you respond to Jesus’ question: “What do you want me to do for you?”

A good answer would be: “Lord, make my life a living symbol of the Visitation and the Corpus Christi procession — let me carry your presence to others.”

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