In The Eucharist | Friar Reflections | The Solemnity of the Body + Blood

Dear Parishioners,

Being the source and summit of our faith, volumes have been written about the Eucharist and its meaning to us as Catholic Christians. Today’s Feast is about the bountiful generosity of God, the deepest description of who we are as a Church; we are the Body of Christ. Today’s feast is not about what we receive every time we celebrate the Eucharist; it is fundamentally about who are.

In the Eucharist, Jesus makes us one with each other, embracing the whole community. It is not just my personal communion with Christ; it is our shared communion with each other in Christ. This is a social sacrament, a circle that includes Christ, yourself and all of our brothers and sisters in faith. When we approach the altar, it is a sign of our love for each other, a pledge of kindness and compassion towards each other. We are a Eucharistic people!

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, we are remembering in a sacred and profound way the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus; the Paschal Mystery. This is not some drama at which we are silent and passive observers. The Church calls us to be full, conscious, and active participants in the celebration of the Eucharist at all times.

During the celebration of the Eucharist, we present the most ordinary of things to God; bread and wine; fruit of the earth, and work of our hands. God accepts, blesses them, and then through power of the Holy Spirit, they become the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Eucharist is an expression God’s ultimate bountiful generosity. As we come to receive, our response can only be gratitude, which is why when we receive (and never “take”) the Body and Blood of Jesus, we prayerfully respond, Amen! We should never take this greatest of gifts for granted. We didn’t earn, it’s not our right, and we can’t demand it. It is God’s gift, given freely out love to each of us. As Pope Francis reminds us; “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” (The Joy of the Gospel: 47).

This wonderful feast calls us to remember who we are: we are the Church, the Body of Christ. St. Augustine said, ‘Believe what you see, see what you believe and become what you are: the Body of Christ. When you say ‘Amen’ you are saying, Yes, I believe! At the Last Supper, during which Jesus first offered himself to us through the breaking of bread and pouring of wine, he asked that whenever we do this we are to do it in memory of him. At this same meal, he washed our feet and asked us to do the same for each other; we are to serve each other. Because we have shared in the Eucharist with each other, we are called and challenged by Jesus to care for and serve each other.

At the end of Mass, we hear the words, “Go now to love and serve the Lord.” This is the invitation and challenge presented to each of us precisely because we have celebrated the Eucharist with each other. We are to take what we have experienced around the altar out into the world and live it in our ordinary lives with each other: The love of God made visible through the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We have received the bread of heaven, let us become what we have received; the People of God respond, “Amen!”

Peace and All Good,
Fr. Zack