Big God and Small God 2021-6-6 Fr. Roberto
Homily for the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – Year B
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP
St. Dominic Church, Los Angeles, CA
June 6, 2021
Similar to 2015 homily below…
Title: Big God and Small God
Theme: Our big God makes himself small to show us his love.
Readings: Exodus 24:3-8; Hebrews 9:11-15; Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
One of the great advances in science the last 30 or 40 years has been getting a better idea of how big and how old our universe is. As you know, our universe is huge. There are billions and billions of galaxies, and each galaxy contains billions and billions of stars!
And our universe it is still expanding! And, scientists now believe that it is around 14 billion years old.
But, even more incredible than these scientific facts is that we Christians believe that our God is bigger and older than the universe since he created it! Yes, our God truly is big, great and majestic, but it can also be said that our big God is small. In fact, if you read the Bible, it seems he is always making himself smaller for us humans. For example, he chose to make himself small by being born a human being. Later, he made himself smaller by suffering and dying on the cross for each one of us.
And today we celebrate one of the most important, most mysterious and most wonderful beliefs that we have as Catholics: the fact that our God, Jesus Christ, the Lord through whom and for whom the universe was created, became so small, that he gave us his whole being in a little piece of what looks like bread and a sip of what tastes like wine. The God that not even the universe can contain, allows himself to be contained in the Eucharist and in us.
So, the question is, why has our God, who is so great, made himself so small in these ways for us? Well, the first answer to this question is simply because that’s how much he loves; he loves us so much that he wants to be close to us and even in us. He loves us so much that he wants to feed us not only with his word in the Bible, not only with his spiritual presence in prayer and in community; not only with his grace in every act of love we do; but he also wants to feed us with his own Body and Blood in the Eucharist!
People of other non-Christian religions, such as Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. – as good as they are – cannot imagine having such a God, a God who makes himself so small for us humans. For those religions, their God is so big and majestic that he would never make himself so small in this way. But for us, our God makes himself small in order to reach the smallest, most hidden, most sensitive, and sometimes darkest corner of our hearts; those places we would rather hide, repress and run away from. But God brings to those places his light, healing, grace, strength and peace. And our God makes himself small so that he can be attentive to our smallest needs. All this is because our great God loves us greatly.
He loves us so much that he makes himself small for us.
And apart from all of this, our God has yet another reason why he has made himself so small for us. In the fourth century, the great theologian and saint, Athanasius, said this: "The Son of God became human so that humans can become God." Repeat What he is saying is that God made himself small by becoming a human to elevate our lowly human nature so that we can participate in God’s divine nature. In other words, God made himself small to make us big like him. God did all those things to make himself small for us – he became a human being, he suffered and died on the cross, and gave himself to us in the Eucharist because God's ongoing project is to make us more like him. He wants to make our hearts bigger so that they are like his: big enough to love everyone, even our enemies. He wants us to become like him: "The Son of God became human so that humans can become God."
This incredible project of God to make us bigger, to make us divine, is reflected in the double meaning of the phrase "the Body of Christ." In the Eucharist we receive the Body of Christ in the sacred Host; but, we are also called to be the Body of Christ for others.
That is, we are called, as individuals and as a community, to be Jesus' hands, his feet, his voice, his heart, in other words, his presence in this world. St. Augustine, who lived just a little bit later than St. Athanasius, told the Catholics of his time, “Become what you eat! Become the Body of Christ.” We are called to form a single Body of Christ, united in community as brothers and sisters despite our different cultures, origins and languages.
Now let me say something to those of you who, for whatever reason, do not receive communion at Mass: please know that God still loves you; and Jesus still wants to be a part of your life in whatever way you allow him to do that. So, I invite you to come to the altar even though you cannot receive communion at least to receive a blessing. At the same time, I encourage you to do whatever you have to do to be able to receive Communion: if you need to go to Confession, go to Confession! If you need to get married in the Church, that is a bit more complicated, but it's worth it – get married in the Church!
So many couples have told me that they want to get married in the Church but are waiting until they raise enough money for the reception. For heaven’s sake! What is more important: celebrating a party or getting married in the Church to be able to receive Communion – not to mention all the other blessings and graces you can receive in the Sacrament of Marriage? My point is, do what you have to do in order to receive the Lord in the Eucharist!
So, brothers and sisters, on this day let us thank our big God for the many ways in which he has made himself small to show us how much he loves us. And, above all, let us thank him for the great gift of the Eucharist. For those of us who can receive communion, let us receive it with humility, desire and commitment to become part of the Body of Christ. It is not a cracker; it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your Lord and Savior! And, whether we can receive communion or not, let us ask God to continue making our hearts bigger so that we might be the Body of Christ in this world, and so that we might become more like him.
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