Dear Parishioners…Our Gospel today speaks of our Lord’s command to love one another as he has loved us. Hence, a few excerpts from our Catechism on Charity and of course, the sacrament of the Eucharist which is the “bond of charity.”
1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who “first loved us.”106 “If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages…we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands…we are in the position of children.”107
1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion; love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run; we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.108
The unity of the Mystical Body: The Eucharist makes the Church. Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body – the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body.230 The Eucharist fulfills this call: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”231 If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond “Amen” (“yes, it is true!”) and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words “The Body of Christ” and respond “Amen.” Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true.232
1397 The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren: You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your bother…you dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy to take part in this meal…God freed you from your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful.233
1398 The Eucharist and the unity of Christians. Before the greatness of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims “O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!”234 The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in Him may return.
Fr. Michrel Phillippino