Thank you for inviting us to offer the Holy Mass in your home today. I am from San Francisco, and with me are Fr. Jose Antonio, Fr. Alberto, and Fr. Manuel from Spain. We are in Calcutta for a meeting of the Corpus Christi Movement for Diocesan Priests, which as you know was founded by Mother Teresa in 1979.
The Pharisees are annoyed that Our Lord's disciples are not fasting. Jesus replies: "the wedding guests do not fast while the bridegroom is with them. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken from them, and then they will fast."
The Bridegroom was with us for 33 years, and then we sent him away. On this day (Friday) we sent him to hell. But just before we crucified him, He left us a memorial of his Passion, the Sacrament of his abiding presence. Every day in every MC house the priest prays these words at Benediction: "O God, who in this Sacrament has left us a memorial of your passion, grant us we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may always experience the effects of our redemption." That is the collect prayer for the Mass of Corpus Christi, used also for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Today is Friday, and we fast, because on this day we killed the Lord. We give up meat, we eat less, we don't eat dessert and we drink only water, or some other form of penance. But even today, Friday, we have Jesus in the Mass. God never, ever deprives his people of the Corpus Christi, the flesh of His Son.
Mother Teresa founded the Corpus Christi Movement for priests so that we would be better custodians of this saving mystery. "Consider us," writes St. Paul in the first reading, "as stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy." We priests find it difficult to be trustworthy, I think. From Judas to Peter to ex-Cardinal McCarrick, priests have failed in some pretty serious ways to be trustworthy stewards of the Eucharist. Mother saw this problem in 1948, when she founded her Order on the Holy Eucharist. She saw how priests need help keeping their sacred trust when, in 1979, she founded the Corpus Christi Movement for secular priests. She sees the challenge now, from heaven, and through you, helps us priests to be faithful stewards of the mysteries.
Be holy or go home, she would tell seminarians and priests. One of my seminarian friends was having a sexual relationship with a girl when Mother told him that in 1989. So, he did go home. He left the seminary, did the honorable thing and married the girl, and I hope they have a beautiful family today, with many children. "My dear priests," Mother told us, “be what you are. You are the receivers of an infinite gift. Now give that gift, unstained, back to the Church.”
Please continue to pray for us, that we do penance with you on Fridays, when the bridegroom is taken from us, and every day, offer joyful surrender to God's holy will. We bring you the Holy Presence of Christ in the morning Mass, and you bring the poor the Holy Presence throughout the day. May God be with us all, in the Immaculate Heart of our Mother Mary.