When I was a kid growing up in Mexico City, my favorite museum to visit was the National Anthropology Museum. A branch of the National Institute for Mexican & Anthropology History. “Antropologia,” as it is usually referenced by the locals, is located in close proximity to the iconic Chapultepec Park and it contains a significant collection of pre-Columbian pieces such as the Aztec Calendar Stone of the Sun (Aztec Calendar) and the Aztec statue of Xochipilli.
Sundays are still free to families and nationals and although our family wouldn’t go every week, I can still remember how it made me feel, what it smelled like and brings me joy to remember that every visit meant I’d find something new, exciting and historically relevant to our family’s culture, values and on-going traditions.
Nobel prize winner Octavio Paz criticized the museum’s “Mexica (Aztec) Hall Central,” saying that the “exaltation and glorification of Mexico-Tenochtitlan transforms the building from a Museum into a Temple.”
As Catholics, the meaning and use of the word “Temple” is central to our rituals and beliefs. The Aztec Civilization offered their gratitude through various forms of sacrifices, gifts, prayers and revered the body as a Temple.
Yesterday we celebrated Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Christ. A Body that was crucified and the Blood it shed for us can only be captured in St. Thomas Aquinas’ expression, “In this sacrament, sins are purged away, virtues are increased, the soul satiated with an abundance of every spiritual gift. No other sacrament is so beneficial to our being and our faith.”
Through His sacrifice and our weekly remembrance of it, Jesus gives us an opportunity to be reminded of what a perfect and loving God He is. Out of total love, Jesus gives us His entire self so that we may ask ourselves, do we truly understand Who we consume at every Mass? What Evangelization responsibility it places on each of us?
Pope Francis’ 2013 exhortation titled “Evangelii Gaudium” opens our heart to reflect such a magnificent gift and invites us – “to embark on a new chapter of evangelism” to be in a permanent state of mission and discipleship. To look and live beyond the simple welfare mentality and to let the Eucharist take over our lives and light the Evangelization, Discipleship and Mission fire we are called to.
Let us strive to intentionally honor and revere Him at every Mass and outside our temple walls.
– Fernando Gomez