Monday, December 30, 2013


Well, we’ve just come off the Feast of the Holy Family which, as I’m sure you know, celebrates Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as a unit. It was kind of an odd family at first if you really think about it. An unwed teenage mother marries a man who becomes the adoptive father of the incarnation of the living God. Not necessarily a Norman Rockwell family portrait. Still, it’s not the weirdest family you’ll ever run into. This group from the old Captain Kangaroo show has to be in the running, though…

Yeah, I don’t know. Toy Story was creepy enough if you thought about it too hard. You know, inanimate objects lying around your kid’s room come to life when you’re not looking and follow their own agenda. I saw all those Child’s Play movies, so let me tell you, that kind of thing can go bad in an instant. But the Toothbrush Family is even worse if you ask me. When these things are playing possum, you actually put them inside your mouth. I know, right? You’re scrubbing your teeth with intelligent creatures. And don’t even think about the places you’ve put that sentient intelligent sponge. Just don’t go there.

On the other hand, depending on how you look at it, we Catholics put a living thing in our mouths all the time, don’t we? Have you ever just stopped and thought what a weird belief that must seem to all those non-Catholics out there, the notion that we believe we’re eating the actual body and blood of our God whenever we receive communion. Heck, the idea even freaked out the Apostles when they first heard it all the way back in John 6. It would be so much easier to just dismiss it all as symbolism, as a weekly bit of make believe we all participate in just because Jesus told us to.

But I have to go along with famed author Flannery O’Connor on that point when she penned this oft quoted piece on Holy Communion…

“Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the ‘most portable’ person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, ‘Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it.’ That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

Exactly. If the Eucharist is nothing more than a symbol, it’s simply not worth the trouble. Ah, but if it’s true… well, J. R. R. Tolkien may have said it best…

“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament… There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death. By the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste -or foretaste- of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.”

I couldn’t agree more, and next Sunday, conscience allowing, I’ll happily stand in line to receive the real body and blood of my Lord placed on my tongue.

I still don’t want anything to do with those living toothbrush people, though. That’s just too weird.


Xena Catolica said...

A couple of years ago, the new priest at my parish started off the homily for Holy Family:
"My family is crazy. Your family is crazy, too."

"Dang," I thought,"he must have met my parents at the last kid's baptism..."

He went on, "Jesus' family was crazy...." in much the same vein as you, Eegah.

Best beginning of a homily ever.

Rocket Scientist said...

Sounds like my family Xena. But my Mom says "Well, at least we are not boring." Yesterday, being the feast of the holy family, was appropriate that we held an engagement party for our daughter and fiancé, who will be soon starting their own family. I loved the Mass readings: essentially, Blessed is he who fears The Lord and walks in His ways. When you do, you get many blessings, i.e. Lots of children. Truly Awesome!

EegahInc said...

Xena, sounds like my kind of homily!

Rocket, congratulations on the upcoming nuptials. Sounds like somebody wants some grandkids :)