The Eucharist is the Gospel made Sacrament

WeeklyMessageGuest Homilist:

Fr. James Gilhooley

Corpus Christi Sunday,

June 26, 2011:.

Two soldier friends served together in Iraq. One was a dull fellow. The other was sharp. Yet, there was a chemistry that made them inseparable. The slow one was wounded. His friend gave his blood. When the wounded fellow learned whose blood had saved his life, he said to his companion, “I feel like a new man.”

Something similar should take place each time we receive the Eucharist. We drag ourselves into the Liturgy looking for a spiritual transfusion, a pick-me-up, a refueling. We need an adrenaline rocket that will jump start us and get us through the next six days.

Does any mother’s child here still wonder why the Church urges us to receive the Eucharist daily? It tells us, “Meet Jesus in the AM Eucharist and walk with Him throughout the day.” Like the soldier who began this homily, we should feel like a new person. Receive the Eucharist well and the chances are good that you take on yourself characteristics of Jesus. That is going first class.

A clever 3rd century Egyptian, Clement of Alexandria, compares the union of ourselves with Jesus in the Eucharist to two pieces of wax being fused together. If we were not blood relations with Him before Communion, we should be after it.

He and we should become family. If we really give the process a second effort, we can just about put Him down in our wallet IDs as next of kin. “In case of accident, call Jesus. He is immediate family.” Talk about thoroughbred bloodlines!

The Eucharist is the Gospel made Sacrament; Christ is both baker and bread. Not by any accident does He use the oldest known and most nourishing food to give us Himself. (Unknown)

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ goes back to 1261 which was a good year for us. Why? Thomas Aquinas was a professor at the University of Paris. Pope Urban IV had a sharp eye for superstars. He asked the master Dominican theologian to write a Mass for the feast. Some good things happily do not disappear into dusty library shelves. We are still using that Mass formula 700 years after its birth. This was one professor of theology who was able to pen lyrical prose.

Fra Thomas of Aquin saluted the Eucharist as “tantum sacramentum,” which translates comfortably into “so awesome a sacrament.” This professor addresses Jesus with these lush words, “In this sacrament, you are both shepherd and pasture.”

Another man, who knew Paris well, was the 20th century Nobel prize laureate Francois Mauriac. He wrote, “The Eucharist is what is most real in the world.”

Just think of it God in a bit of bread comes to bring morning into the darkness of our bellies. (Hilda Prescott)

Do notice how clever the Church is. It situates today’s feast immediately after the celebration of last Sunday’s Feast of the Trinity and the Pentecost the week before that. No matter how you approach these feasts, the Pentecost and the Trinity both honor an invisible God. Not so the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ! The Nazarene is eminently seeable and embraceable. He is warmth personified.

To paraphrase Ignatius of Antioch, in the Eucharist we not only put our arms around Jesus but more importantly He squeezes us. He takes our breath away. You cannot get any closer than that.

A boy was critically ill. Only his nine year old brother had his blood type. He volunteered. As he watched the blood leaving his body, he asked the doctor, “How soon before I die?” He was reassured he would live. No one gave that assurance to Christ when He gave His rare blood type to us. Yet, He gave it willingly.

The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. (William James)

A woman showed her biography to friends. It had only three pages. The first page was black. That she said represented her sins. The second page was red and it signified the blood Christ shed for her sins. The third was white. This last page was herself after being cleansed by the Eucharist. (William Barclay)

Each of us has the first two pages of that biography. The third only is added when we receive Jesus as our personal Saviour. Today at this Liturgy is as good a time as any to add that third page. Think about it.

Introduce others to the Eucharist. The world thirsts for grace in ways it does not recognize. (Philip Yancey)

Little wonder that in a recent year, 150,000 Americans were baptized as Catholics or received into the full communion of the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil alone. Increase that number.

A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
June 26, 2011

The Eucharist: The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ?
The Feast of Corpus Christi celebrates the gift of what is called the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, the Mass, and the Lord’s Supper. Few Catholic doctrines have been so misunderstood.

The Catholic Church teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation, namely, that in the Eucharist, the wafer and the wine really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Have you ever met anyone who finds this a bit hard to take?

The Body and Blood of the Lord: Experiencing the Eucharistic Presence
A number of years ago I took a few days off to visit Chicago. Now along with wanting to see the great baseball cathedral known as Wrigley Field, I really wanted to attend Mass at Holy Name Cathedral. It had recently been restored. I wanted to see it, and I wanted to worship there. It was only a few blocks from my hotel, so the first morning I was there, a Sunday, I walked to the Cathedral for Mass. It was closed. There had been some sort of ceiling damage a month earlier, and the cathedral is closed for repairs. But it was

The Real Presence, by Father F Mangan, SJ
The teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Eucharist is that by the words of consecration the substance of the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who is thereafter “truly, really, and substantially” present under these appearances

Four reasons why the Bread of Life Discourse cannot be a metaphor
John 6:51-58

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. […] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. […] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

What Do you Expect From Holy Communion?
Some people put more faith in Tylenol than they do in Holy Communion. That’s because when they take Tylenol they expect something to happen. But many people don’t really expect anything to happen when they receive Holy Communion.

Look at the host, and you look at Christ
Back in the 1970s, when there was a lot of liturgical innovation going on, Dorothy Day invited a young priest to celebrate mass at the Catholic Worker. He decided to do something that he thought was relevant and hip. He asked Dorothy if she had a coffee cup he could borrow. She found one in the kitchen and brought it to him. And, he took that cup and used it as the chalice to celebrate mass.

Church to Observe Pope’s 60th Anniversary of Ordination June 29
Catholics worldwide are asked to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s ordination to the priesthood with sixty hours of Eucharistic prayer for vocations.

The pope will celebrate his anniversary June 29, the Solemnity of St. Peter and Paul. In honor of his anniversary, the Vatican Congregation for Clergy suggested Catholic clergy and faithful be invited to participate in Eucharistic Adoration with the intention of praying for the sanctification of the clergy and for the gift of new and holy priestly vocations.

Abp. Fulton Sheen on four false assumptions often made in comparing religions
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen outlined the problems with the arguments that Christianity was derived from pre-Christian paganism, made in the early twentieth-century by men such as H. G. Wells, H. L. Mencken, and Sir James G. Frazer (author of The Golden Bough, an influential study in comparative folklore, magic, and religion). In Philosophy of Religion: The Impact of Modern Knowledge on Religion, written nearly sixty years ago and aimed at more scholarly works, Sheen lists false assumptions underlying comparative religion that provide a helpful apologetic yardstick for gauging works that claim “all religions are the same” or that “Christianity stole its beliefs from pagan religions.”

Getting Rid of Excess Baggage: Venial Sin
I have been thinking a great deal about my experience at Reconciliation a few weekends ago. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that Saturday morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the Priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of the numerous venial sins I had committed since I last participated in this Sacrament. For possibly the first time in the five years since I joined the Church, I was able to see the true nature of these sins as a tremendous burden on my shoulders, as a fog that kept me from seeing the path ahead and absolutely as an obstacle in my relationship with Christ. I know these observations

Rock Solid
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said: “There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is of course, quite a different thing.”

How the Sea Can Help You Pray
Everyone living today in America in or near a city has a desperate need for the three S’s: silence, solitude, and slowing down—both for psychological sanity and for prayer.

For Those Called to Marriage
A recent study shows that the percentage of Catholics who choose to marry in Church has declined dramatically over the past generation. Of course this is nothing that we did not already know. But having just returned from a very welcome week’s vacation—a week during which I was not actively involved in combatting the negative trends of contemporary Western culture—I have a slightly different perspective to offer.

Don’t Follow Your Dream
Everywhere you turn today, our children are urged to “follow your dream.”

It seems like a harmless, even inspiring bromide to motivate children to achievement. It isn’t.

A lot of damage has been done to young minds by this particularly nauseating, rampant philosophy. There seems to be an air of entitlement in it, which encourages people to expect rewards for simply having a dream and not working toward it with blood, sweat and tears.

Criticism: Did Mary Really Give the Rosary to Saint Dominic? (Pope Leo XIII answers)
Catholic tradition states the Blessed Virgin Mary directly and personally instituted the Holy Rosary through Saint Dominic. A previous post described the traditional account of “How Mary Gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic.” In this second post we examine the historical-critical objection claiming that the Rosary was an organic development of medieval piety and that Mary did not directly give the Holy Rosary to St Dominic.

Superb Bible Study on YouTube – Learning from a Great Teacher
The video at the bottom of this page is a commentary on the Gospel of John by Fr. Francis Martin, an excellent and well known biblical scholar. He has given many priest retreats, and taught in many settings, most recently at the Dominican House of Studies here in Washington.

The Magisterium and Catholic Social Teaching
What is the magisterial authority of Catholic Social Teaching (CST), and how is it applied to real world situations? Catholic Social Doctrine is simply the voice of the Church, starting with the Sacred Scripture and the Church Fathers, that lays out the principles of how justice and charity are to be lived out in the world.

The contemporary era of CST began with Pope Leo’s XII’ Rerum Novarum in 1891, and continues up to Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate. Through the social documents, …more

We’ve Lost that “Thinking” Feeling
When I first begin a new semester of teaching Philosophy, I always begin by asking students for their opinions on certain moral and social questions. In almost all cases the student’s response begins with: “I feel that…”

These three little words are indicative, I think, of why there is so much confusion in our society. As stated in a previous article, [i] an area of concern for the Western World is what Pope Benedict XVI calls “the eclipse of reason.” Simply put, the concept of

Oh, How we Love to Celebrate!
Celebrations – those joyous affairs that offer a welcome distraction from the drudgery of everyday life; a time when the weight of worldly concerns takes a backseat to festivity and lightheartedness; a venue in which happiness is allowed to prevail, even if only for a moment, buoying the spirits of those who but surrender to the energy of the occasion.

Good-Bye, Good Priest! Father John Corapi’s Kafkaesque Catch-22
Note to Readers: The following was written a few days before Father John Corapi’s latest statement on his website in which, with great reluctance, he left ministry as a priest rather than assent to the process imposed on him. Father Corapi’s statement alters none of the content of this post, but only points to the urgency of its message. ~ Fr. Gordon J. MacRae

A Veteran of a Mean Little Army
The other day I got an email from a high-school boyfriend, which drove me headlong into remembrance of a time in my life I’ve tried to forget. My husband is the only person I know who enjoyed high school, so I don’t harbor any delusions that my unhappiness made me unique among teenagers. In fact, my misery found plenty of company. My mother died at the beginning of my freshman year, and while my dad reeled, I got mixed up with the other kids whose parents or grandparents weren’t really watching.

Five Ways the Old Testament Foreshadowed the Eucharist
I just finished reading Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre, and it’s fantastic. He does a great job of showing how various things from the Old Testament point to Christ. I wanted to use today’s post to show five different ways the Eucharist is prefigured in the Old Testament, and what each of those things shows us about the

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