We now return to ordinary time and start to enjoy summer with all of the new life that again colors our world. I am reminded of last week’s celebration of the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi, which was originally celebrated with processions. Sadly, by the later Middle Ages, some of these processions had become large and boisterous parades and no longer deemed suitable by the church. However, in France and parts of Central Europe, it was also known as the festival of wreaths. Houses along the route of the procession were decorated with floral wreaths and green boughs.
In 2003, I was honored to witness such a procession in the Black Forest region of Germany. The servers wore white albs and lace surplices; the little girls wore their white Communion dresses and the adults in the procession wore the historically original festive attire of the region all the way down to the liederhosen. The priest walked under a canopy holding the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament.
It took my breath away and stirred a new life within me. The first reading from Ezekiel this week, with its mention of majestic cedars and evergreen boughs, brought back that vivid imagery of the boughs and wreaths on the pathway of the procession. Today’s Gospel with its mention of mustard seeds, wheat, the sickle and harvests are all images of that procession we call life with its’ growth, death and rebirth.
We can all experience a renewed growth each week as we attend Mass and are nourished and fed through the Word, the homily and the Eucharist. Our personal growth in faith does not happen with a great glorious revelation — it starts small like the mustard seed, and like the great cedars is life-affirming. It blooms like the flowers of spring and summer and in the harvest is repurposed and lives on.
Wettstein is a volunteer choir director and former director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.