Feast of Corps Christ 2017
MASS AND BLESSED SACRAMENT PROCESSION
Homily notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
Saint Laurence O’Toole, Seville Place, 18th June 2017
This year once again this Parish of Saint Laurence O’Toole is holding its Blessed Sacrament Procession to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi. As a community of believers in Jesus Christ, in an atmosphere of prayer and praise, we accompany the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament along the streets of this parish and this community, which have seen much violence and exploitation. We walk with Jesus in support of great families who work tirelessly and with courage every day in building community in Dublin’s North Inner City.
A procession like this was traditionally an important part of the life of every parish. The older generation among you will have memories of great processions in the past. I am pleased that this parish is now reviving this important tradition.
What is the meaning of this procession? Why do we go out into the streets and what do we hope to achieve? Let me say just three short things, each one linked with the readings we have heard. This procession brings a message of hope, a message of blessing and a message of communion. We bring the presence of Jesus on to our streets to bring hope, to be a blessing and to build up communion: communion with Jesus Christ: a communion that then binds us together to build wider communion and community.
A message of hope. We heard that first reading from the Prophet Deuteronomy. The Prophet sets out all the trials that God’s people had gone though. They felt lost and even abandoned by God himself. They found themselves, we heard, in “a vast and dreadful wilderness” in which they encountered fearful events on all sides. The Prophet reminds them however, that God never forgot those who remained faithful. Even in that dreadful wilderness of despair, he worked miracles that produced water from stones and nourished them with special food.
Our Blessed Sacrament Procession through this community is a reminder to us and to the entire community that even though this community still suffers much – through poverty and unemployment, through criminal violence, through the suffering of those trapped in addiction – that there is always hope. The future can be different.
As a Christian community, we want to say to all that hope for the future never vanishes. We pray for hope for families and especially for the children of this parish and community. We pray for parents who face all the challenges of life and we pray even more that the presence of Jesus in our midst will help us to renew our commitment to accompany and support those who struggle. We pray also for those who fall, that they will know that Jesus is always faithful; Jesus never gives up on anyone. His helping hand will reach out to them so that they can begin again.
A message of blessing. The second reading from Saint Paul speaks of the Eucharist as a “blessing cup”. This community has suffered in many ways. We walk today as a community which to bring a new sense of blessing for all. As we walk along the streets, we will bless places where violence has brought death and tragedy. As we pass schools, we will ask a blessing for the future of our young people. We will ask a blessing for our older generation who have done so much to build this community that they will never feel lonely, frightened, or abandoned. We wish to bring the blessing of Jesus even to the hardest of hearts who have caused so much suffering and exploitation. We bring the blessing and the consolation of Jesus to those who have been left grieving and mourning.
A message of communion and life. We heard in the Gospel reading that Jesus is the one who comes that we can all have life and life to the full. Jesus is the one who nourishes us with his body and blood and who forms us into one body. He wishes that his Church should be a sign of the unity of all people in Jesus Christ. As we walk through our streets with the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, we pray for healing and reconciliation between all who are estranged.
The unity of the one bread which we as believers celebrate and receive, reaches out beyond the four walls of the Church building and reaches our beyond just the community of believers. As believers, we are called to be ministers of unity among all.
There is great faith in this community. It may be that many people have drifted away from attending Church. You know however and you know better than I do or that Father Robert does, just how many people and how many times people quietly – either dropping into a Church or in the silence of their hearts – pray in times of distress and at important moments of their lives.
We thank God then for the gift of presence in our hearts of the Jesus who cares. We thank God and praise him for the gift of his saving power in the Eucharist. We confide this parish community and especially the coming generations to the protection of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
We will pray as we move with Jesus in the Eucharist along the streets of this community that he will renew our faith and that we will offer our praise and our thanksgiving for all he does and means for us.
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and thanksgiving be every moment thine.