From the Pastor's Desk
MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (CORPUS CHRISTI)
1) The last two precious gifts given to us by Jesus are the Holy Eucharist as our spiritual food on Holy Thursday and Jesus’ mother Mary as our spiritual mother on Good Friday
2) Corpus Christi is the celebration of the abiding presence of a loving God as Emmanuel – God with us – in order to give collective thanks to our Lord for his living with us in the Eucharist.
3) The feast also gives us an occasion to learn more about the importance and value of the “Real Presence” so that we may appreciate the Sacrament better and receive maximum benefit from the Eucharist
We believe in the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist because
1) Jesus promised it after miraculously feeding the 5000.
2) Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist during his Last Supper.
3) Jesus commanded his disciples to repeat it in his memory.
4) “Nothing is impossible for God.”
We explain the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist by: “transubstantiation” which means that the substance of the consecrated bread and wine is changed to the substance of the risen Jesus’ glorified Body and Blood by the action of the Holy Spirit, and its accidents (like color, shape, taste etc.), remain the same.
This year's readings for the Feast emphasize the theme of Covenant blood because the ancient peoples sealed Covenants with the blood of ritually sacrificed animals, and Jesus sealed his New Covenant with his own Blood shed on Calvary. Today’s first reading describes how Moses, by sprinkling the blood of a sacrificed animal on the altar and on the people, accepted the Covenant Yahweh proposed and made with His People. In the second reading, St. Paul affirms that Jesus sealed the New Covenant with his own Blood, thereby putting an end to animal sacrifices. Today’s Gospel details how Jesus converted this ancient ritual into a Sacrament and sacrifice. Instead of the lamb’s blood, Jesus offered his own Divine/human Body and Blood, and instead of sprinkling us with blood, Jesus put it into our hands as food and drink: "Take … eat … this IS my Body which will be given up for you" (He did not say "This represents my body”), and "Take … drink …This is … my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many….” (nor did He say, “This represents my blood…”).
A Sacrament and a sacrifice: Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist both as a sacramental banquet and a sacrificial offering. As a Sacrament, a) the Eucharist is a visible sign that gives us God’s grace and God’s life and, b) as a Meal, The Eucharist nourishes our souls. As a sacrifice a) the Eucharistic celebration is a re-presentation or re-enactment of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, completed in His Resurrection. b) We offer Jesus’ sacrifice to God the Father for the remission of our sins, using signs and symbols.
1) Let us appreciate the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, by receiving him with true repentance for our sins, due preparation, and reverence.
2) Let us be Christ-bearers and conveyers: By receiving Holy Communion, we become Christ-bearers as Mary was, with the duty of conveying Christ to others at home and in the workplace, through love, mercy, forgiveness, and humble and sacrificial service.
3) Let us offer our lives on the altar along with Jesus’ sacrifice, asking pardon for our sins, expressing gratitude for the blessings we have received and presenting our needs and petitions on the altar.
Buzz Aldrin Communion on the moon:
The Lord's Supper ensures that we can remember Jesus from any place. Apollo 11 landed on the moon on Sunday, July 20, 1969. Most remember astronaut Neil Armstrong's first words as he stepped onto the moon's surface: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." But few know about the first meal eaten on the moon. Dennis Fisher reports that Buzz Aldrin, the NASA Astronaut had taken aboard the spacecraft a tiny pyx provided by his Catholic pastor. Aldrin sent a radio broadcast to Earth asking listeners to contemplate the events of the day and give thanks. Then, blacking out the broadcast for privacy, Aldrin read, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit." Then, silently, he gave thanks for their successful journey to the moon and received Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, surrendering moon to Jesus. Next, he descended on the moon and walked on it with Neil Armstrong. His actions remind us that in the Lord's Supper, God's children can share the life of Jesus from any place on Earth — and even from the moon. God is everywhere, and our worship should reflect this reality. In Psalm 139 we are told that wherever we go, God is intimately present with us. Buzz Aldrin celebrated that experience on the surface of the moon. Thousands of miles from earth, he took time to commune with the One who created, redeemed, and established fellowship with him.
Fr. Gus. MS, Pastor