June 15 – The 11th Tuesday in Ordinary Time
In his famous unreadable novel Finnegans Wake, James Joyce is said to have written that “the Catholic Church is Here Comes Everybody”. If so, she takes after her Founder, who was rich because he was God, but there was one thing he lacked, and that was being Everybody. He needed to go, empty himself of what he had, and become poor for our sake, so that by his poverty, Everybody might become rich, and become children of a heavenly Father.
Even now, wherever Mass is celebrated, Jesus gives himself to all comers. If you watch a line for communion in any part of the world, you can see Here Comes Everybody. There’s a complete cross-section of impoverished humanity: the bad and the good, the just and the unjust, the IRS tax collectors and the rest of us. All are enriched by the Body and Blood of Christ.
Noting that the heavenly Father makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust, Jesus drew his own conclusion and did not hesitate to cast his pearls before swine, to preach even to his unkosher enemies. Among the crowds of people who followed him as a sort of Galilean rock star, there must have been many snoozers and sneezers, and people who were just wondering if anyone brought a few loaves and fishes. Wouldn’t it have been better to gather around him a core group of really faithful souls?
But no. Jesus had something for Everybody. It’s the same way with the Eucharist. You would think it would have been reserved for a handful of really devout disciples, a gift as holy as that. But no; it’s an open invitation for Here Comes Everybody, the kind of people who happen to be in this church at the moment.
You have to wonder how many of us are as impartial as our heavenly Father, and as Jesus his Son. If we’re friendly only with those who have the same opinions that we do, do not the IRS agents do the same?
The Eucharist enriches Everybody with the Body and Blood, the soul and divinity of Christ. As we come away from communion, perhaps it could cross our minds that the Christ it is our duty to imitate was too courteous this morning to turn us, even us, away. What does that tell us about how we should relate with others?