Archive for June, 2007

The Real Presence in the Eucharist

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

June 9, 2007

Corpus Christi

Gen 14: 8-20; 1 Cor 11: 23-26; Luke 9: 11b-17

Dc. Larry Brockman

Blood!  For all of history, Blood has symbolized the presence of the life force.  Shedding ones blood for another is the ultimate sacrifice because it means that you shed your life force.  Jesus knew he was going to do just that- shed his blood the very next day.  So, when he presided over the Last Supper, he knew that His disciples would feel abandoned; because His presence among them, the thing that motivated them and unified them, would be ended.  That’s why He gave them an incredible gift- the gift of the Eucharist. 

Jesus said that when his Apostles offer bread and wine in remembrance of Him then that Bread and wine become His body and blood.  He left them, and us, the gift of His life force, because Jesus is present in that gift- present inside all of you as you take His Body and Blood. 

Today’s second reading is the earliest written account of the Last Supper, even earlier than the Gospel accounts.  It is an account handed down to Paul by eyewitnesses at the event itself, during the decade of the actual events.  The early Christians understood that Remembrance meant more than just calling to mind.  It meant reliving the experience; savoring it for all that came out of it.  Perhaps that’s why nobody ever questioned the real presence for a thousand years in the Church, because the real presence in the Eucharist was such an integral part of their worship.  It was the center of early Christian worship; it was what Christianity was all about.  Indeed, just as the Eucharist was the center of the worship experience for the early Christian Church, It is the source and summit of our Catholic faith today.  So, we do well to reflect on what the gift of the Eucharist really means to us.

First, it means that each one of us that receives the Eucharist is guaranteed that Christ dwells in us.  Wow!  In the words of our pastor, Awesome!  Yes, indeed- when you receive the Eucharist, Christ is present in you; he is inside of you.  Take advantage of that opportunity!  But, don’t expect that you will feel that presence unless you work on it.  ust as with any other close or intimate relationship, it takes communications two ways; and it takes time.  That means you need to listen to Christ as well as talk to Him. 

God made all of you for his greater glory and for you to share in his everlasting life.  But, to do that, you have to be in communion with God.   You have to travel on the same journey, in the footsteps of Christ.  When you receive the Eucharist, that is the optimum time and place for you to be in tune with how Christ wants you to walk in his footsteps; to do the will that the Father has for you, just as Christ did His Father’s will.   Listen to Him. 

His voice may be in the form of a nagging feeling that something is wrong; if so, change it.  Or a sudden inspiration; if so, follow it.  Or even an appreciation of some gift God has given you- a talent, or even a limitation; if so, rejoice in it and embrace it. 

Take the opportunity to experience the Eucharist as frequently as you can because intimacy is something that only develops over time.  And after time, you will feel His presence.  You will feel the intimacy.

Second, the Eucharist is a community event, not an isolated experience.  The Eucharist is our heavenly spiritual food.  In the first reading, the bread and wine were offered to God as a blessing by the great priest of the Old Testament, Melchizedek.  But as Paul says, Jesus offered those same gifts, the bread and wine, as a new covenant.  One where we affirm our belief in the Priest’s blessing that Jesus is Lord, and has risen.   And we proclaim this new covenant at Mass as a Community.  In the Gospel, we hear that 5000 were fed from a few loaves and fishes. Imagine that- really- 5000 people.  Yet the same miracle occurs here every week.  All of us here at Holy Family, and there’s about 5000 of us attending all 6 Masses, are fed by a few loaves of bread and a flask of wine.  And that food is so special; it is our spiritual food.  And just as all of you have an opportunity to commune with Christ individually, so we all have an opportunity to give Thanksgiving to God for this special gift; and give Glory to God- as a Community.  It is God’s will that all of us share in his Kingdom and Glory.  You won’t do that as an individual!  Religion is just not something that’s between you and God.   No, to share in His Kingdom means sharing together.  The Kingdom is like your wonderful family celebrations at Christmas or Thanksgiving.  God wants all of you there, sharing together.  How else do you shed your differences and learn to get along together,than by learning to be a community.

In a few moments, you will have the opportunity to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.   Accept that gift of the Life Force.  Listen to Jesus and give Glory to God as a community for your many blessings.