The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ-C
June 23, 2019
Genesis 14: 18-20
1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
Luke 9: 11b-17
Born of the Eucharist: A Spirituality for Priests
Edited by Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti
Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana
2009, 175 pages
I have a book on my shelf entitled, Born of the Eucharist: A Spirituality for Priests, edited by Msgr. Stephen Rossetti and published by Ave Maria Press.
I find it to be very much in tune with today’s feast: the Feast of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ, the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Eucharist. This book contains twenty-one reflections from priests and bishops on the relationship between the sacramental priesthood of Jesus Christ and His sacramental gift of Himself to us in the Eucharist.
I thought today that I would allow two of the reflections in this book to speak directly to you.
The first one is from Bishop Victor Galeone, who is the retired Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida. He entitles it, “A Journal Entry.” This is what Bishop Galeone writes:
The following is an entry from my journal in 1996 while I was the pastor of St. Agnes Church in Baltimore:
Yesterday, after an emergency call at the nursing home, I was about to exit when I noticed a man in the hallway. He was sitting next to a woman in a wheelchair, tenderly holding her hands. Not a word was spoken. He just sat there, looking intently into her eyes. I walked over and engaged him in conversation:
“Your wife, I take it?”
“That’s right, of forty-seven years.”
“Do you visit her often?”
“Every single day. Haven’t missed a day in four years, except for that blizzard last year.”
(During the exchange, his wife kept staring blankly into space.)
“She’s not saying anything.”
“That’s right. Hasn’t been able to for the last eighteen months – ever since her stroke. She has Alzheimer’s too.”
“Alzheimer’s! Does she know who you are?”
“Not really. But that doesn’t matter. I know who she is.”
What an indictment against me, Lord Jesus! How often during my quiet time in your presence, I’ve kept one eye on the tabernacle and the other on my watch. Don’t I deserve the same reprimand that your chosen three disciples received in the garden, “Could you not watch one hour with me?” Where is the love that should be animating my heart just as it did that of Saint Edith Stein when she remarked: “He is truly here – and He is here for me!” [pages 101-102].
Personally responding to our relationship with Jesus Christ requires our full attention. That is what St. Edith Stein meant with her last remark, “Jesus is truly here, and He is here for me!”
I wonder why it is that people talk with each other in church before Mass begins. “Jesus is truly here, and He is here for me!” He is here in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Remembering this, shouldn’t I better use the time before Mass to talk with Him and listen to Him?
He knows who we are. Do we know who He is? We can come to know Him better by spending prayer time with Him regularly and attentively.
This Mass is not simply a dramatic re-presentation of the Last Supper. It is far more than that. Through the sacramental gift of Jesus’ priesthood, we continue to do right now what Jesus did at the Last Supper. “This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this in memory of Me.”
During Mass, bread and wine are changed. After the Consecration, they may still look the same, but they are no longer bread and wine. They are now Jesus: His Body and Blood, His Soul and Divinity.
Right here – right here during this Mass.
The second reflection comes from Father Brendan Daly, who is a priest from Auckland, New Zealand. It is a very short reflection, and I love his title too. It is called, “The Luckiest People on Earth.” Father Daly writes:
A woman I know, brought up a Catholic, went to a Catholic boarding school and eventually gave up practicing her faith. She married and had three children who were not baptized. When the children were teenagers, she went to the Catholic funeral of a friend. She sat down in the back of the church. When it came time for Communion, she watched the people going up to receive the Eucharist. She thought to herself, “If those people receiving Communion are receiving the Son of God, they must be the luckiest people on earth.” Reflecting on this led her to come back to the practice of her Catholic faith [page 125].
“He is truly here – and He is here for me!”
We are truly receiving the Son of God, Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion. Believe this. Reflect on this. Live this mystery. For we truly are the luckiest people on earth.