June 26, 2011
Readings for this Sunday of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ:
Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a; 1 Cor 10:16-17; Jn 6:51-58
Recently I was conversing with a young lady who was interested in the Catholic Church, and when I began to attempt to explain the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, she responded, "Why not? Why couldn't the God who created the universe choose to make himself present in His Body and Blood in the Eucharist?" This is the joy of our faith: we have a God of love who chooses to be a part of our reality! This is what we have celebrated during these last couple of Sundays. The Love of God who sent the Holy Spirit upon His Church, and the diversity and unity of God expressed in the Holy Trinity. Today, we remember that same love of God made real for us through our nourishment in the spiritual meal of the Eucharist.
As a loving Father, through the order of nature, God has provided for His children from the beginning of time. All that we need for a healthy diet to sustain us is found in the world around us; we do not have to go to any fast food restaurant. In today's first reading we find Moses reminding the children of Israel how God fed them with Manna from heaven when they were hungry. As big as our world population is, there is always enough food for all as long as man does not intervene through greed and war bringing deprivation and hunger.
More than natural food that will sustain us during our years in this world, God's desire is that we share in the supernatural food that will sustain us on our spiritual journey to heaven. Just as Adam and Even were able to eat of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, we are able to partake of the fruit of the tree of the Cross as we eat the Bread of Life. Jesus tells the Jews in today's Gospel: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink" (Jn 6:53,54).
The Eucharist is also a sacrificial meal. All of the covenantal relationships with God in the Old Testament were sealed by sacrifices, and sacrifices were a part of the ritual life for the Jewish temple. Through their sacrifices the Jews offered the first fruits of their field, the first-born pure lambs and many others gifts to God in a attempt to express atonement for sin and express their gratitude for God's blessings. None of these sacrifices were able to effect what they were intended; for they were only symbols for a people longing for oneness with God.
Through the Eucharist we are able to share in the sacrifice that once and for all restores us to unity with our Heavenly Father. At the beginning of His ministry John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! " (Jn 1:29). Jesus is the lamb that was sacrificed on the cross providing an eternal and enduring covenant between God and man. "[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper ‘on the night when he was betrayed,’ [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit" (Council of Trent).
Today, we celebrate this great gift of God's love in the Eucharist as we are nourished with our spiritual food for our journey to heaven. We believe! We believe in God's enduring love for us, we believe that the God who created the heavens and the earth loves and cares for us! We believe that Jesus is truly present in His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist! Let this feast re-inspire us to spend more time in adoration of Jesus in the Adoration Chapel and to go to confession and partake in this Gift from God as frequently as possible.
ó In honor of Pope Benedict XVI's 60 years of priesthood on June 29th we parishes throughout the world have been invited to share in 60 hours of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament praying for vocations to the priesthood. We are blessed at Mary Star that we have our Blessed Sacrament Chapel and I would strongly encourage all to share in this prayer.
ó Our Parish Fiesta is approaching. If you have not turned in your yellow raffle books please turn them in to receive two free blue books. If you have not received any raffle tickets they are available after Masses or in the parish office. We are very much in need of your support this year in order to make this a successful fiesta. We are depending on these funds to finance the many essential maintenance projects we have for the summer
Rev. John F. Provenza