June 2 2013
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
The Eucharist is the sacrament of faith. The Consecrated Host looks no different after the consecration than before. It looks, smells, feels, and tastes like bread. Only one of the five senses gets to the truth. As St. Thomas Aquinas’ Adoro Te Devote expresses, “Not to sight, or taste or touch be credit, hearing only do we trust secure; I believe, for God the Son has said it – Word of Truth that ever shall endure.” The ears hear His words, “This is My Body; this is My Blood,” and faith takes us beyond the veil of appearance.
Christians are used to looking beyond appearance. The baby in the manger does not look like God; nor for that matter does the man on the cross. Yet by faith we know He is no mere man. The Bible does not have a particular glow setting it off from other books, nor does it levitate above the shelf. Yet by faith we know it is uniquely the Word of God. The Eucharist seems to be bread and wine, and yet by faith we say, “My Lord and My God!” as we kneel in adoration.
The same dynamic of faith that enables us to see beyond appearances in these mysteries enables us to see beyond appearances in our neighbor. We can look at the persons around us, at the annoying person or the ugly person or the person who is unconscious in a hospital bed, and we can say, “Christ is there as well. There is my brother, my sister, made in the very image of God!” By the same dynamic we can look at the pre-born child and say, “There, too, is my brother, my sister, equal in dignity and just as worthy of protection as anyone else!” Some people will say the child in the womb, especially in the earliest stages, is too small to be the subject of Constitutional rights. Is the Sacred Host too small to be God, too unlike Him in appearance, to be worshiped? The slightest particle of the Host is fully Christ. Eucharistic Faith is a powerful antidote to the dangerous notion that value depends on size.
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
June 2, 2013
Solemnity of the Body and Blood: Reverence for the Eucharist
Today’s first reading presents a meeting between Abram, later to be named Abraham, and someone called Melchizedek.
Let’s place this all in its biblical context. The setting is the area that we now call the Fertile Crescent, from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers down through Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine and into Egypt. Back in the days of Abraham, perhaps eighteen hundred years before Christ, this was an area of small city-states, often ruled by petty kings, and migrating bands of people. Abraham was one of the leaders of a migrating people. Only, he was different. He had been called by God to leave his homeland of Ur in Chaldea to a place where the Lord would establish his chosen people.
Message: Gratitude (taking the time to thank Jesus) and Eucharistic coherence (not acting or speaking against the commandments) – these two practices enable us to give our lives for others.
I’d like to begin this Corpus Christi homily with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. He asked a question regarding the Fr. Damien:
“The political and journalistic world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai. The Catholic Church, on the contrary, counts by the thousands those who after the example of Fr. Damien have devoted themselves to the victims of leprosy. It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism.”
Melchisedek is a very important and yet rather mysterious figure in the story of our salvation. He occurs in only two places in the Old Testament. Firstly in the passage set before us today from the Book of Genesis and later in Psalm 110 where the familiar phrase occurs: You are a priest forever according to the Order of Melchizedek.
Abraham has come to the aid of the Five Kings from the fertile plain around the Dead Sea where his nephew Lot has settled. They had been overcome by four other Kings but when Abraham heard this he and three hundred and eighteen members of his household immediately fell upon the enemy and defeated them.
Why it is significant that the Eucharist could not have been given before the Incarnation
As we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we do well to consider (in a number of shorter posts, and perhaps one longer) various points relative to the Blessed Sacrament. We direct our reader to a number of previous posts on the Most Holy Eucharist and the Mass:
Why the bread of life discourse cannot be a metaphor [here]
Christ’s body in heaven and in the Eucharist [here]
The whole Christ is present under both species, but one is called the Body and the other the Blood [here]
Is the Host the flesh of the Sacred Heart? [here]
Does the real presence remain after a Eucharistic miracle? [here]
What makes the Mass to be a sacrifice? [here]
Jesus, Who loves you, warned of Hell – A Catalogue of Jesus’ Warning texts
Many people today put Hell in opposition to the love of God. But Jesus combines them. Here is an important truth: No one loves you more than Jesus Christ. And yet, no one spoke of or taught on Hell and Judgment more than Jesus Christ. There is from him, warning after warning, parable after parable, that speak and warn, even shout judgment and the reality of Hell.
Pope Francis: Believing in Christ, but not in the Church is a contradiction
During his weekly catechesis Pope Francis talked about the role of the Church. But before that, the Pope made his way through St. Peter’s Square where about 90,000 people were gathered. Despite the rainy weather, the Pope maid a point to greet the crowds.
“I congratulate all of you for having the courage to come out in the rain. You’re strong!
Praying for a Miracle
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9-10).
There will come a time in our lives, eventually, where “natural” means of solving a problem are exhausted. Or, at least, those means are beyond one’s reach.
How Does Forgiveness Work Before and After Christ?
Jesus died on the Cross so that people could be forgiven their sins.
But if he died in A.D. 33, what about all the people who lived and died before that time? Were their sins forgiven?
And if their sins were forgiven, does that mean Jesus’ sacrifice applies to all of history?
If so, does that mean that we’ve been forgiven for all of our sins—past, present, and future—so that we don’t need to go to confession?
How does this all work?
Here’s the story . . .
Discernment — How can I learn God’s Will for me?
Does God have one right choice for me in each decision I make?
When we pray for wisdom to discern God’s will when it comes to choosing a mate, a career, a job change, a move, a home, a school, a friend, a vacation, how to spend money, or any other choice, big or little, whenever there are two or more different paths opening up before us and we have to choose, does God always will one of those paths for us? If so, how do we discern it?
Graces Given by God
Q: Dear Father John, I have started saying a daily Morning Offering Prayer in which I ask God with the help of His Grace that I remain all day in a spirit of praise and thanksgiving and that all of my actions be for the purpose of doing His will. However, I find I cannot remain in this spirit all day with the normal pressures of everyday life to deal with that can take my mind off of God. Does God withhold his Grace for whatever reason or if I ask does He grant me this Grace no matter what? I am trying to figure out why I can’t fulfill my promise to Him whenever I say this prayer every morning. I don’t see any difference in my attitude than before I started saying this prayer, although I mean it with all my heart when I pray it in the morning.
God’s Solidarity Never Ceases to Amaze Us
Yesterday in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. He then led, on foot, the Eucharistic procession that wound along Rome’s Via Merulana, until reaching the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Following are ample extracts from the Holy Father’s homily, which focused on the Gospel story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
A Word from the Lord and a Saint as to what Prayer Does
I think one of the joys of heaven will be to finally see what our prayers actually wrought. Yes, even our distracted and imperfect prayers, by God’s grace may well have had the power to bring immense healing, cast out demons, cancel discouragement, push back temptation and even turn away wars.
The Littlest Suffering Souls, part 2: Margaret Leo of McLean
How is it that a Supreme Court Justice keeps two pictures drawn by a little girl who died six years ago on the desk of his office? Or that the head of an influential Washington D.C. think tank prayed to the same girl for his father to be saved from a brain tumor? Or, that a noted Washington thinker has a regular devotion to her?
Was There Death Before the Fall?
Someone recently wrote to me asking, “Christians believe that death entered the world through sin. Check out Romans 5:13-14 if you don’t believe me. Yet evolution proves that death existed before the fall. How do you explain that?”
Medieval Christians Were the First to Pursue Knowledge for God’s Glory
As we noted last time, Jesus teaches us that when you seek first the Kingdom of heaven, all sorts of earthly goods are added to you, as well. A classic case in point is the birth of science, due to the Church’s pursuit of the gift of knowledge to the glory of God.
3 Business Lessons You Can Learn From…Nuns?
Catholic nuns. When you think of them, you may harken back to grade school, or your great aunt Sister Mary, or maybe even Sally Field flying around your TV screen.
But consider taking another look at Catholic nuns. They’re not all rulers, dunce chairs, and old women anymore. They’re marketing geniuses.
Common Good/Uncommon Evil
Of late, I have heard much about the “common good,” but little about “common evil.” The common good does not mean that some substantial form exists out there which we are trying to embody in order to perfect our dealings with one another. Such an idea is responsible for much serious evil in the modern world.
For the Faith
When Jesus called his first disciples to follow him, they laid down their fishnets, left their families, and went with him. Was Peter actually asking Jesus “What’s in it for me?” Did the disciples expect some sort of financial or material gain for their allegiance? So Jesus reassures them that they would be repaid a hundred times over – but not now, not just yet. At the present time, they leave behind everything for his sake and the sake of his work and this includes persecutions – this was their investment. But the rewards are great, very great, in the eternal life. It is not possible to live as God wills us to do without a cross. This is the reality of sacrificial love in the life of a person following God’s will. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown.”