This is My Body - Jun 6 2010

 
Today is the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi).
 
First, the year of the Priest is coming to an end this month.  Pray/offer Mass for priests, pray for an increase in vocations.  For if we have no ordained priesthood to consecrate the bread and wine, we will have no Body and Blood of Christ.  To all priests and religious reading this, I thank you for your service and pray for you at every Mass.
 
Now...
 
Catholics believe that the bread and wine consecrated at Mass actually becomes the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus the Christ.  Despite the fact that it still appears, feels and tastes like bread and wine, a transformation (transsubstantiation) takes place.  Many Christians believe the bread and wine are just symbols.
 
But Jesus said, I am the Bread of Life.  My Flesh is real food and My Blood is real drink.  I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.  Many of His disciples were disgusted by the concept of cannibalism and leaving said, who can follow this teaching.  Jesus didn't call them back saying, it's literary allusion, hyperbole, rhetoric; instead, He let them go.  And then He turns to the apostles and said, are you leaving too?  Peter replies we believe you have the words of eternal life.
 
While celebrating the Passover on the night of the unleavened bread, He took bread into His hands, blessed it, broke it and said, take and eat, this is My Body.  Then He took the cup, again He said the blessing, gave them the cup and said, take and drink, this is My Blood, the Blood of the new and everlasting Covenant.  Do this in memory of Me.
 
We take Jesus quite literally, we believe His words.  We do not want to be among those who left Jesus saying this teaching is too difficult. 
 
The institution of the Eucharist occurred at a Passover meal, the bread was unleavened.  So when you come to a Catholic church, you will note that we use unleavened wheat wafers. We require wheat, as Jesus used wheat; we do not substitute rice cakes. The bread and wine are blessed at elevation offerings, some of the prayers are the prayers of Passover.  I think my Jewish friends would be very comfortable at a Catholic Mass and recognize a lot of the actions and prayers.
 
When you enter a Catholic church, in the sanctuary is the tabernacle (in more conservative churches, a curtain is before the tabernacle, as the curtain in the Temple separated the Holy of Holies.)  A candle, the sanctuary light, is burning any time the Body of Christ is in repose in the tabernacle - liturgically, the sanctuary light is extinguished for Good Friday and Holy Saturday, to be relit at the Easter Vigil.  Jesus is not there.
 
So when a Catholic enters the church, we believe you are coming into the physical presence of the Lord.  So we genuflect before the tabernacle.  We speak in muted tones.  There is a tension between quiet for those praying, respect for the Eucharist, and the noise of a gathering community.  At the entrance of the church is holy water and we bless ourselves, reminding us of our entry into The Church through the sacrament of Baptism.  We gather in the Real Presence.  Jesus is here among us.  I will be with you until the end of time.  There is a certain warmth that comes from His presence.
 
I stopped at St Joseph Shrine in Stirling one day to pray.  When I entered, it was different, it felt empty and cold.  I knelt and prayed.  I noticed the sanctuary light was out and shook my head that such a thing could happen.  As I left the nave, I saw a little sign that said the Blessed  Sacrament was in repose at the rectory chapel because the tabernacle was broken.  No wonder it felt like just a room, Jesus wasn't there.  I knew I felt Jesus' Presence when I entered a church but I always thought it was because I expected it.  Until then, I never realized that I felt His Presence because He was present.  I've been to a number of Christian churches and felt the "just another room" feeling.  How sad.  But even more sad for Catholics who deny the Real Presence; they miss the opportunity for a personal relationship with the Lord.  To come into His Presence and unload the burdens of the day, to celebrate the joys, or just to say thank you.
 
As I sit before the tabernacle, I know Christ is there and listening.  Like the Temple of old, the Lord was in the Holy of Holies.  In those days only priests could enter the Lord's presence.  Today, Jesus has given us a royal priesthood, we all share in the priesthood of Christ, we all can enter the Holy of Holies and enter His Presence.
 
Yet we fail to have respect for our Redeemer King.  We come into His Presence in short shorts and tube tops and sport uniforms (cleats in church drive me crazy) and bathing suits.  I'm not a suit-required guy but you should at least dress like you would going to a nice restaurant.  Your hands should be clean.  I'm a Eucharistic minister and the number of people who approach with dirty hands is amazing - first from a sanitary point of view, I can't imagine you'd eat a hamburger that way; second, you are receiving the Body of Christ, perhaps a little respect for the Lord is in order.  St Paul says we should examine ourselves before approaching otherwise we could be liable for the Body and Blood, the Passion of our Savior.  That's heavy stuff.  I'm going to be held accountable for the whipping and crucifixion?  So we approach not only with clean hands but also, and more importantly, clean souls.  You are not to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament while in a state of grave/mortal sin.  You must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation first.  You must also have been Baptized before you receive the Holy Eucharist.  And if you are not Catholic, we ask you not to receive.  If you do not believe what you are receiving is indeed the Body, Blood ,Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, then you are desecrating the Body of the Lord by receiving it.
 
Today is the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.  We thank God for the gift of His Son, for His Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven, for His enduring Real Presence with us until the end of time and for abiding within us by our eating His Body and drinking His Blood.
 
How great is our God!  May the peace of Christ always disturb you!  Be not afraid!
 
 
Your Lord is seated at the father's right hand in heaven.  How then is the bread His Body?  And the chalice, or rather its content, how is it His Blood?  These elements we call Sacraments, because in them one thing is perceived by the senses and another thing by the mind.  What is seen has a bodily appearance; what the mind perceives produces spiritual fruit.  You hear the words "The Body of Christ," and you answer  "Amen."  - - Saint Augustine
 
Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all the Masses being said this day throughout the world for all the holy souls in purgatory.  (In a vision, Jesus told St Gertrude the Great that this prayer would release a vast number of souls from purgatory each time it is said.)
 
The Golden Arrow Prayer
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most mysterious and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven, on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. (This prayer was revealed by Jesus to a Carmelite Nun in Tours France in 1843.)
 
Prayer of Reparation
O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He is offended.  By the merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.  (With the Blessed Sacrament suspended in the air, the Angel of Fatima prostrated himself and recited this prayer.)
 
Eternal Father I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.  for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world  (from the Divine Mercy Chaplet)
 
Blessed be God
Blessed be His Holy Name
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man
Blessed be the Name of Jesus
Blessed be His most Sacred Heart
Blessed be his most Precious Blood
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy
Blessed be her Immaculate Conception
Blessed be her glorious Assumption
Blessed be the Name of Mary, Virgin and Mother
Blessed be St Joseph, her most-chaste spouse
Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.
May the Heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament be praised, adored and loved,with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the  tabernacles of the world, even until the end of time.  Amen.
 
 
The Eucharist thus appears as both the source and the summit of all evangelization, since its goal is the communion of mankind with Christ and in Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit. 
   - - Venerable Pope John Paul 2
 
 
John 6:44-69 (NRSV) 
44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 
45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 
46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 
47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 
48 I am the bread of life. 
49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 
50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." 
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 
53 So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 
54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 
55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 
56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 
57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 
58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." 
59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. 
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" 
61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? 
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 
63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 
64 But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 
65 And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father." 
66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 
67 So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" 
68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 
69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." 

 

Matthew 26:26-30 (NRSV) 
26 While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." 
27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 
28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 
29 I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." 
30 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 

Luke 22:13-22 (NRSV) 
13 So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. 
14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 
15 He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 
16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." 
17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 
18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 
19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 
20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 
21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 
22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!"

 
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The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
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O Heart of Love, I put all my trust in You.
For I fear all things from my own weakness,
but I hope for all things from Your Goodness.
Amen. - - St Margaret Mary Alacoque
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The Pope's intentions for the month of June:
General: That every national and transnational institution may strive to guarantee respect for human life from conception to natural death. 
Missionary: That the Churches in Asia, which constitute a “little flock” among non-Christian populations, may know how to communicate the Gospel and give joyful witness to their adherence to Christ.
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Tempus Fugit. Memento Mori.
Time Flies. Remember Death.
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