Today is the celebration of Corpus Christi, that is, the “Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.” As a church we reflect on Christ’s embodiment, both historically in the person of Jesus and continually in the gift of Christ’s mysterious presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
I kept thinking about this as I lay on the cement floor in St. Mark’s Cathedral this evening during Compline. I was between Stephanie and Jen, two of my best friends since childhood. Throughout our friendships they have been constant pillars in my spiritual life. Each of us comes from her own unique Christian upbringing, and even as we all spent our undergraduate years with the Jesuits, we still hold many differences in faith. Yet they have always been embodiments of Christ to me. Real Love in Flesh and Blood. Truth speakers in some of the most trying of circumstances.
According to Roman Catholic doctrine, one of the major reasons women cannot be ordained priests is the fact that Christ became human in the form of a man. The priest, who represents Jesus in the consecration of the Eucharist, must therefore be male in order to adequately reflect Christ’s embodiment. I’ve acquired plenty of strong theological arguments to dismiss the institution’s logic on this matter, but tonight I didn’t need any intellectual assertions to support by belief that Christ’s embodiment was not merely male. No. There next to me, on my right and on my left, Jesus lay in Flesh and Blood. Skin and Bones. Jen and Steph.
The Corpus Christi I witness every day is often female, just as it is often male. It is always a Mystery.