Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Corpus Christi

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
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Corpus Christi
June 7, 2015
Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 116; Hebrews 9:11-15; Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

            A variety of cooking shows are popular on television today. Many of these stations showcase competition for the tastiest ingredients and best-presented meals. A common mistake happens when a chef gets too fancy and turns an ordinary dish into something supreme and edgy. The dish that often wins is the basic one that stays truthful to itself. It does not strive to be something other than what it is. Its appeal is its integrity. This is the beauty of the Eucharistic. Its simplicity communicates it care and feeding of its members. It reminds us that Jesus himself is the one who cares and feeds us.

            The Eucharist always tells us that some other action is going on when we are at mass. Behind the scenes, we get the sense that Jesus is very active doing something for us before God. As the priest gathers up our prayers, we know that Jesus is doing his part in petitioning God to provide for us in our particular needs. It is Jesus who offers himself as a sacrifice on our behalf in the tradition of the priests of old. However, he offers his own life for us so that God will look favorably upon our requests since God regards Jesus with great honor. If Jesus is always willing to relive his sacrifice, then God must realize our requests must have merit.

            While liturgical services have many repetitive qualities, mass is really an action. Christ gathers us to be in one place so we can bring the events of our week to God. He is ready to be the interceding priest on our behalf. Our job is to bring our cares, concerns, hopes, and joys to the priest so he can ritually offer them to the God, but it is Christ who acts as the supreme priest to give us what we really need.

            As Christ remembers and relives his Passion and Death, he gives himself up to God so that his covenantal blood can be shared and his body consumed. He simply intends to nourish us so we can live for God in the world that causes us to hunger and thirst for God’s presence. As the one who brings food to all who hunger and thirst, Jesus shows himself interested in every malnourished area of the world; He can thus be welcomed in these places, for those who hunger understand what this living food means, and we who receive it, because we have tasted this food ourselves, are eager to offer it to anyone who hungers. We natural reach out to people beyond the frontiers of the church walls. Our natural response is to bring those who hunger to the food that satisfies.

            Most people eat three meals, plus a snack, each day to replenish the physical body. If we skip a meal, we notice our hunger and we may poorly compensate if we miss a healthy, nutritious meal. We always return to places that replenish us. Parents and families feed us well and it keeps our familial bonds strong. We return home for meals or we go to a restaurant that pleases us. We eat with people we like because we cannot eat with those who anger us. At a deeper look, eating together has greater significance than we give credit. We can even eat several meals that do not please us, but the act of sitting together with others satisfies.

            The same goes for our Eucharistic meal. We eat with people who share the same beliefs. The habit of being fed adequately keeps us returning to Christ, who nourishes us. Even if we are distracted during mass and cannot pay attention, we are still sitting with others and we are eating eternal food. We become dependent upon both the food and the one who gives it to us and over time we are changed into a Eucharistic community. We take on attributes of Christ and we strive to give ourselves up for others the ways Christ does for us.

            Every once in a while, it is good to recognize the one who prepares the meal for us, whether it is parent, spouse, chef, or Jesus Christ. Each one is setting aside time to do this for our enjoyment and benefit. As Eucharist means to give thanks, let us remember all those who give of themselves with such great care. Consumable food allows us to go on with life; the food Christ gives us, from his very own body and blood, gives us life that brings us eternal life with God. Eat and drink well. Enjoy the eternal banquet.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
Monday: (2 Corinthians 1) Blessed be the God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are afflicted.
Tuesday: (2 Corinthians 1) Our word to you is Yes. The one who gives us security has put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.
Wednesday: (2 Corinthians 3) We have confidence in God and the ministry of the Spirit is glorious. The Spirit gives life.
Thursday: (Acts 11) The people of the way were first called Christians in Antioch and Barnabas was sent to encourage them. While in Antioch, the Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”   
Friday (Hosea 11) When Israel was a child, I loved him. Out of Egypt, I have called my son. My heart is overwhelmed, my pity stirred.   
Saturday (Isaiah 61) I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.

Gospel: 
Monday: (Matthew 5) When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain and began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the…”
Tuesday: (Matthew 5) You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Shine your light before others so they may see your good deeds and glorify God.
Wednesday (Matthew 5) Do not think I’ve come to abolish the laws. I came to fulfill them. Not the smallest letter will pass from the law until all things have taken place.  
Thursday (Matthew 5) Let your righteousness surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees.  Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. Settle with your opponent quickly.
Friday (John 19) On Preparation day, the Jews asked Pilate that the crucified ones be taken down and have their legs broken. When they came to Jesus, he was already dead, but a soldier thrust a lance into his side and blood and water flowed out.
Saturday (Luke 2) At the Passover feast, Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem to talk with the elders. After three days they found him in the Temple. Did you know know I must be in my Father’s house? He returned with Mary and Joseph to Nazareth where he learned obedience.

Saints of the Week

June 9: Ephrem, deacon and doctor (306-373), was born in the area that is now Iraq. He was ordained a deacon and refused priestly ordination. After Persians conquered his home town, Ephrem lived in seclusion where he wrote scriptural commentaries and hymns. He was the first to introduce hymns into public worship.

June 9: Joseph de Anchieta, S.J., priest (1534-1597), was from the Canary Islands and became a leading missionary to Brazil. He was one of the founders of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero. He is considered the first Brazilian writer and is regarded as a considerate evangelizer of the native Brazilian population. Alongside the Jesuit Manuel de Nobrega, he created stable colonial establishments in the new country.

June 11: Barnabas, apostle (d. 61), was a Jew from Cyprus who joined the early Christians in Jerusalem to build up the church. His name means "son of encouragement." He accepted Paul into his community and worked alongside him for many years to convert the Gentiles. He was stoned to death in his native Cyprus. He was a towering  authority to the early church.

June 13: Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor (1195-1231), became a biblical scholar who eventually joined the Franciscans. Francis sent him to preach in northern Italy, first in Bologna and then Padua. He very especially beloved because of his pastoral care, but he died at age 36.

Friday: The Sacred Heart of Jesus is set on the Friday following Corpus Christi. The heart of Jesus is adored as a symbol of divine, spiritual, and human love. Its devotion grew during the Middle Ages and was transformed in the 17th century when Mary Margaret Alocoque and her Jesuit spiritual director, Claude La Colombiere, reinvigorated the devotion.

Saturday: The Immaculate Heart of Mary began as a devotion in the 17th century. In 1944, the feast was extended to the Western Church. Her heart signifies her sanctity and love as the Mother of God.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 7, 1556. Peter Canisius becomes the first provincial superior of the newly constituted Province of Upper Germany.
·      Jun 8, 1889. Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins died at the age of 44 in Dublin. His final words were "I am so happy, so happy." He wrote, "I wish that my pieces could at some time become known but in some spontaneous way ... and without my forcing."
·      Jun 9, 1597. The death of Blessed Jose de Ancieta, Brazil's most famous missionary and the founder of the cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.
·      Jun 10, 1537. Ignatius and his companions were given minor orders at the house of Bishop Vincenzo Negusanti in Venice, Italy.
·      Jun 11, 1742. The Chinese and Malabar Rites were forbidden by Pope Benedict XIV; persecution broke out at once in China.
·      Jun 12, 1928. Fr. General Ledochowski responded negatively to the idea of intercollegiate sports at Jesuit colleges because he feared the loss of study time and the amount of travel involved.
·      Jun 13, 1557. The death of King John III of Portugal, at whose request Francis Xavier and others were sent to India.