One of Augustine's favorite images for human history and for
each individual's life is that of a river rushing towards a distant
Great Falls. He writes:
As a torrent is formed from the rains and eventually breaks through
its narrow banks and runs roaring down the slopes until it finally
finishes its course, so it is with each of our lives. Indeed,
the whole human race, gathered together from hidden sources, rushes
through time until it dies, falling again into a hidden place.
Thus, this passing state that we call our life roars and rushes
away. (Commentary on Psalm 109, 20)
We are rushing into our future towards the Falls and if we paid
attention, we could hear the crashing of the falling waters even
now. We are not especially happy about the prospect. We spend
much of our energy trying to stay where we are ... grasping at
twigs to pull ourselves ashore into some quiet eddy where we can
rest and “smell the flowers” and enjoy the view.
As we travel down the river we have constant hunger.
1. We hunger for life, we want to live forever and are afraid
of the prospect of going over the great falls into the unknown
2. We hunger for meaning, we want our lives, however short or
long they may be, to MEAN something, to have some importance;
3. And most of all we hunger for love ... we want someone, somewhere
to care about us.
The feast of Corpus Christi goes far to help us fill these hungers.
It is the feast celebrating the night that Christ gave Himself
under the appearance of Bread and Wine to the world, with a promise
that he would be with all of us in the world till the end of time.
Every time we celebrate mass, every time we take communion, we
are reminded that we are not alone.
As we float down the river in the tiny boat that is our life,
Jesus comes to us and gives us food to satisfy our hunger.
1. He tells us: “If you eat this Eucharist with faith,
you will live forever. For sure you will die, you will go over
the great Falls at the end of your life just as I did. But just
as I did you will live beyond death and not alone but with me.”
2. He tells us: “Your life does have meaning, it is important
because it is important to me.”
3. He tells us: “You are and always will be loved. I became
human so that I could share your life on this river. I gave you
the Eucharist so that I could live in you for the rest of your
life. I want to be with you. I love you.”
Our lives spin on down the river. There will be some good times
and some bad times. But at least, now, believing in the Eucharist
and receiving the Eucharist we don't seem to be as hungry as we