If I Am the Body of Christ, Who Needs the Host?

February 2005

Your Editor is a privileged hombre: He gets to spout off when something ticks him off, and not just verbally, but in print. Something strange happened to your Editor recently, so he will speak in the first person.

I attend weekday Masses. Now, don't go thinking I'm so holy. Look, I don't want my reputation for rhetorical brutality to be ruined. Hey, I only go once during the week. Anyhow, it was a Tuesday. I arrived late, just in time for most of the homily. The church where I go for weekday Mass is a Salesian parish, staffed by two priests from India. Excellent priests.

This Tuesday there was a priest I'd never seen before, a white American priest from some other diocese. (Yes, Indians from India are usually thought to be Caucasians, and our two Indian priests may be naturalized American citizens for all I know, but you know what I mean.) The white American priest's voice was nasally and whiny. Not speaking from the pulpit, he pranced about at pew-level. He was theatrical. He obviously thought he was a terrific homilist. He struck me as being a third-rate actor, full of fake sincerity. He told us repeatedly that God loves us. O.K., he was the stereotypical effeminate priest. His performance was repulsive.

I was tempted to leave. Not thinking to offer it up, I nonetheless resolved to get beyond it and remember why I was here: to receive the Body of Christ. So, after the homily, I decided to look down and close my eyes, so as to be minimally distracted by the priest. O.K., that worked.

So, now it's time to go up for Holy Communion. The priest was the only one distributing the Host. For once in my life I was hoping there'd be a lay Eucharistic minister, but it was not to be. Not wanting to be distracted by the face of the affected priest, I approached him with my hands out, and looked straight into my hands.

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New Oxford Notes: February 2005

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