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.
Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
June 22, 2014
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year A June 22, 2014
Gospel (Read Jn 6:51-58)
Our Easter lectionary readings moved us through Christ’s Resurrection, Ascension, and the Descent of the Holy Spirit. Last Sunday, we celebrated the Most Holy Trinity, because we understood, from all that history, that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; from the beginning, all Three Persons have lovingly worked to restore us to the life for which we were designed. We might, therefore, conclude that the history is now liturgically complete. Yet today, the Church calls us to another solemnity. In our readings, we are pondering the mystery of the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist. This meal raises a question: If we now have the Holy Spirit to put God’s life in us, why do we need to “eat the Body” and “drink the Blood” of Christ? What does that accomplish that the gift of the Holy Spirit doesn’t?
The Solemnity of Corpus Christi: Beyond the Carousel
A few weeks ago I came upon a beautiful carousel. Instant reflections of early childhood hit me as I remember the merry-go-rounds I would go on at Seaside Heights back in the day when the term “Jersey Shore” had no connotations of immorality. I don’t know if modern carousels still do this, they probably don’t because of safety issues, but back when I was little, everyone would try to be on a horse or animal on the outside of the circle. That was so they could reach for the ring.
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
John 6: 51 – 58
This Gospel is part of a larger portion of John known as the Bread of life Discourse. It begins with the multiplication of the loaves and ends with many disciples leaving Jesus, followed by Peter’s beautiful profession of Faith, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy one of God.” There is a lot happening in this chapter of John’s Gospel, and for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ we hear the center piece of the chapter when Jesus teaches that He is the Bread of Life.
Eucharist: Body and Blood of Christ
The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, the communion wafer and the altar wine are transformed and really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Have you ever met anyone who has found this Catholic doctrine to be a bit hard to take?
How to Listen When God is Speaking to You
God speaks to us constantly through ordinary events and signs, but we aren’t always listening. We need to open our ears to hear his supernatural suggestions. As Jesus said, “let him who has ears to hear, hear.” How do we fulfill this desire of Jesus?
How to Receive Christ With Love
In Holy Communion, we touch and taste our Lord and our God. A very significant sentence of St. Augustine, in which he records Christ’s words to him, defines the chief effect of eating the Bread of Angels: “Thou shalt not change me into thine own substance, as thou changest the food of thy flesh, but thou shalt be changed into mine.” There is not, and there never can be, a closer union. The reality of Christ’s Presence is a fact founded on His infallible word and almighty power.
Thomas Aquinas on Natural Law in 5 Points
It’s imperative. You must understand the teaching of Thomas Aquinas on Natural Law. It’s absolutely essential in a culture and era that misunderstands the nature of human marriage, conception, life, and natural death. So what do you need to know?
When the Joy of Faith is Gone
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of (your) faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:6-9
Ten Ways To Grow in Prayer
Prayer is the key to salvation. St. Augustine says that he who prays well lives well; he who lives well dies well; and to he who dies well all is well. St. Alphonsus reiterates the same principle: “He who prays much will be saved; he who does not pray will be damned; he who prays little places in jeopardy his eternal salvation. The same saint asserted that there are neither strong people nor weak people in the world, but those who know how to pray and those who do not. In other words prayer is our strength in all times and places.
The Church is a Family Formed by God, Pope Says
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis stressed the familial nature of the Church at his Wednesday General Audience, emphasizing God’s desire to form a people through fatherly love.
“To speak of the Church is to speak of our mother, of our family,” he said to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square June 18.
He said the Church is not a private association or an NGO, and neither is the Church restricted to bishops, priests, and the Vatican.