Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ
Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
The Body and Blood of Christ
May 29, 2016
Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17
The most important action in the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is sharing food with one another. Melchizedek brings out the bread and wine and shares it with Abram and his people. In return, Abram offers a tenth of everything he has to the Lord. From the very beginning of our faith, we see that God is sharing divine food with us through earthly means. Paul, in 1st Corinthians, hands over to others what he had received. As a priest, he blesses the bread and wine and distributes it to those gathered as a way of remembering Jesus. In the Gospel, Jesus has the disciples feed the crowds after he teaches and heals them. In all these cases, the Lord is involved in satisfying our most basic needs by giving us God’s very self.
We can take for granted that the Lord will feed us with his Body and Blood whenever we celebrate mass, but what other ways do you want to be fed? We are given the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation so we have eternal life with God, but in which other ways do we want church to feed us? When we go to a restaurant, we do not simply sit there and accept what the wait staff brings to us. We make choices and order particular food items. Does it make sense to make known our needs and interests to the church community? Church does not have to be a passive hour that we sit through. In fact, our job is to shape it to our local needs.
I recently asked a few Catholics why they attended church and they replied, “It is structured family time,” “It is time to be together with others who believe,” and “It is a place where I can exhale after the stresses of the week.” One even said, that church is “helpful to get ideas on how to live the rest of the week.” In their longer responses, they hinted that it was a time of communion with others. They were getting the point of the purpose of church right as it is a time of communion with God through others. For churches where people do not talk with one another or they come late and leave early, communion cannot be achieved. We cannot go to church without speaking to anyone. It simply doesn’t work. Remember that Jesus taught and healed before he fed the people. After he does these things for us, how can we keep them to ourselves? It goes against the grain of the faith.
Speak your mind. Priests want to know what you need to hear. We cannot address your needs from the pulpit if we do not know your struggles and joys. It is a challenge to compose a homily that meets everyone’s needs, but it is an even greater challenge to guess what you need in a vacuum. The wait staff in a restaurant is able to ask you a lot of questions about how you like your meal prepared. Please be vocal and specific to your priest because we want to find ways to make the Gospel meaningful to your life’s situations. We cannot heal unless we know where it hurts. We cannot satisfy if we are always guessing what you need. Please tell us what you want. Please tell us what you need. Together, through our dialogue, we will find a way to fashion a church experience that conforms and is relevant to your situation.
Soon, we will eat and drink what Lord offers us – His own body and blood. That means he is still with us and continues to be concerned for us. This is real flesh and real blood and we become what we eat. Christ, the immortal one, becomes a part of us and makes us share in his life with God forever. We can never die to him because we are a part of him. He does this precisely because he wants to be totally in our lives, closer than any other person can be to us. Christ surrounds us and is within us and brings us straight to the heart of God. It is with joy and thanksgiving that we are joined this closely to God through the real food and drink Jesus offers us. Let us sigh a breath of relief that God fundamentally will provide for our salvation.
Let me close with a poem I found the other day: When we live by faith, every ending is the beginning of something new. Everything points beyond itself to a presence without and within. Every person becomes a sacrament, every colleague a companion on life’s pilgrimage. When we live by faith, time becomes a gift, and seasons, rivers of grace: refining and recreating us to fullness of life. See, God is doing something new. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? Your work is an icon of God’s tireless labors; to build up what is just, to strengthen a faltering spirit, to fire the imagination with endless possibilities for learning, for growing, for becoming, for being in love. See, I am doing something new. Now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it?
Scripture for Daily Mass
Monday: (2 Peter 1) God bestowed upon us precious promises so that we may come to share in the divine nature.
Tuesday: (Romans 12) Let love be sincere. Hold onto what is good. Love one another with mutual affection. Rejoice in hope.
Wednesday: (2 Timothy 1) Stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. God gave us power and love and self-control.
Thursday: (Ezekiel 34) I will look after and tend my sheep. I will seek out the strayed, injured, and sick, and I will bring them back.
Friday (1 Peter 4) The end of all things is at hand. Let your love for one another be intense. Be hospitable without complaining. Rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ.
Saturday (2 Timothy 4) God will judge you. I am being poured out like a libation and the time of my departure is at hand. The crown of righteousness awaits me.
Monday: (Mark 12) A man planted a vineyard and leased it out to tenants while he went on a trip. The tenants killed his servants and son. The man put the tenants to death and gave the vineyard to others.
Tuesday: (Luke 1) When Mary visited Elizabeth, her cousin cried out, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
Wednesday (Mark 12) If a childless brother dies, and his widow marries his seven brothers successively, to whom does she belong in heaven? Jesus said that God is the God of the living, not of the dead.
Thursday (Mark 12) Which is the greatest commandment? To love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Friday (Luke 15) There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.
Saturday (Luke 2) The boy Jesus was found in the Temple with the elders. They were discussing matters of faith. When his parents found him, he asked, “Did you not know I would be in my Father’s house?”
Saints of the Week
May 31: Visitation of the Virgin Mary commemorates the visit of Mary in her early pregnancy to Mary, who is reported to be her elder cousin. Luke writes about the shared rejoicing of the two women - Mary's conception by the Holy Spirit and Elizabeth's surprising pregnancy in her advanced years. Elizabeth calls Mary blessed and Mary sings her song of praise to God, the Magnificat.
June 1: Justin, martyr (100-165), was a Samaritan philosopher who converted to Christianity and explained doctrine through philosophical treatises. His debating opponent reported him to the Roman authorities who tried him and when he refused to sacrifice to the gods, was condemned to death.
June 2: Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs (d. 304) died in Rome during the Diocletian persecution. Peter was an exorcist who ministered under the well-regarded priest, Marcellinus. Stories are told that in jail they converted their jailer and his family. These men are remembered in Eucharistic prayer I.
June 3: Charles Lwanga and 22 companion martyrs from Uganda (18660-1886) felt the wrath of King Mwanga after Lwanga and the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) censured him for his cruelty and immorality. The King determined to rid his kingdom of Christians. He persecuted over 100 Christians, but upon their death new converts joined the church.
This Week in Jesuit History
· May 29,1991. Pope John Paul II announces that Paulo Dezza, SJ is to become a Cardinal, as well as Jan Korec, in Slovakia.
· May 30, 1849. Vincent Gioberti's book Il Gesuita Moderno was put on the Index. Gioberti had applied to be admitted into the Society, and on being refused became its bitter enemy and calumniator.
· May 31, 1900. The new novitiate of the Buffalo Mission, St Stanislaus, in South Brooklyn, Ohio, near Cleveland, is blessed.
· Jun 1, 1527. Ignatius was thrown into prison after having been accused of having advised two noblewomen to undertake a pilgrimage, on foot, to Compostella.
· Jun 2, 1566. The Professed House was opened in Toledo. It became well known for the fervor of its residents and the wonderful effects of their labors.
· Jun 3, 1559. A residence at Frascati, outside of Rome, was purchased for the fathers and brothers of the Roman College.
· Jun 4, 1667. The death in Rome of Cardinal Sforza Pallavicini, a man of great knowledge and humility. While he was Prefect of Studies of the Roman College he wrote his great work, The History of the Council of Trent.