Bishop Barron’s post (always good) was especially good, so I have re-posted it here.
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus declares that he is the bread of life and promises eternal life to all who believe in him.
Many of the Church Fathers characterized the Eucharist as food that immortalizes those who consume it. They understood that if Christ is really present in the Eucharistic elements, the one who eats and drinks the Lord’s Body and Blood becomes configured to Christ in a far more than metaphorical way. The Eucharist, they concluded, Christifies and hence eternalizes.
If the Eucharist were no more than a symbol, this kind of language would be so much nonsense. But if the doctrine of the Real Presence is true, then this literal eternalization of the recipient of Communion must be maintained.
But what does this transformation practically entail? It implies that the whole of one’s life—body, psyche, emotions, spirit—becomes ordered to the eternal dimension. The Christified person knows that his life is not finally about him but about God; the Eucharistized person understands that her treasure is to be found above and not below. Wealth, pleasure, power, honor, success, titles, degrees, even friendships and family connections are all relativized as the high adventure of life with God opens up.
Bishop robert Barron
If you would like to receive a daily gospel reflection from Bishop Barron you sign up here.
In the American Catholic scene there is perhaps one name that stands above all when thinking about social justice: Dorothy Day. In the course of time we have all heard many stories about this remarkable woman. Today I heard one with which I was not familiar. Continue reading →
I could not begin to guess the number of times I have said or heard the words: “Do this in remembrance of me” – part of the Eucharist prayer celebrated at the Holy Mass in places and times around the world. I imagine that across the globe, at every moment of time there is a voice speaking those words. At every moment of time there are believers gathered to worship and collectively remember the story we live by – the life and redeeming death of Jesus Christ. Continue reading →
Back in the day, the 1980s to be exact, there was a year in which my job required me to spend a lot of time as a road warrior in support of our clients. There are approximately 250 working days in a year. I spent about 200 of them in a hotel. At first it was kinda’ fun. There was someone who cleaned your room every day, you got to eat out at the restaurant of your choice, you could drop your laundry off at the front desk and it would show up in your room at the end of the day. What’s not to like, right? By the second week, the thrill was gone and now all that was left was HBO. Remember this was 40 years ago, a hotel that had HBO had a serious leg up on the competition. But here’s the thing. HBO did not have a lot of choices that interested me. And now we are at week three. Continue reading →
In our previous installment, speaking of Francis’ unique view of nature, we ended with the idea that Francis “held that the whole world is a sacrament, a sacred thing, a gift; and the sacramental character of the world reminds us of the central sacrament, the Incarnation, continued among us in the seven sacraments of the Church, especially in the Eucharist.” But did Francis have any thoughts specifically on the Eucharist itself?
I would wager that most people would guess that in Francis’ own writings he spoke at length about poverty, his love of nature and animals, and other topics for which Francis is so well known in the modern world. Yet, in his own writings, there is perhaps no other topic that he addresses more than the Eucharist. In his Eucharistic writings, Francis expresses a deep view of the continuing Incarnation of Christ in the world, and in that vision is an entire way of life. These writings represent part of the movement of Francis’ mystical life from prayer and devotion in solitude before the cross, to a pattern of communal prayer and devotion in the Mass as well as a devotion to the Eucharist apart from Mass. Continue reading →
Way back in the day, before this life as a Franciscan, I was helping out with a teen ministry program at my parish. I will always remember one comment a young woman made: “It’s not like I have a contract with God or anything.”
Contract: an agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for some consideration, often an exchange of goods and services. A contract includes a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration; f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; g) and the execution of all the above. I am sure the lawyers and first year law students can provide a more precise definition. But my point is that contracts are hardly personal. I have signed contracts for car loans without ever meeting the bank representatives. And I signed an apartment rental contracts and never met the actual property owners. Who cares? It’s business, right? Did everyone get what they agreed to? Contract with God? Continue reading →
The small band of brothers living at Rivo Torto and later at the Porziuncula, were drawing others to their way of following Christ in the world. And if they expected to find a uniform dress code, posted rules, a great deal of organization, a formation program, or even someone to sit them down and explain what was expected – they were in for a surprise. Francis assumed that his followers would learn by imitation. Giving them rules or structures to follow was not merely difficult for him, it went against the grain of the meaning of minority – to be the lesser brother. The new arrivals simply did what Francis did: daily prayer, work at a local leprosarium, go to local churches to participate in Eucharist, eat, pray again, witness to the local Umbrian people near Assisi, and live a life in community. The brothers had to watch Francis closely and do their best to understand. Continue reading →
In the course of celebrating Mass we come to the distribution of Communion – during these times of the coronavirus pandemic. At my parish many precautions are taken as part of the distribution of Holy Communion: sanitizing hands of the minister, wearing masks, standing behind a plexiglass shield with a hand pass through – and the Bishop has asked that all the faithful please receive in the hand and not on the tongue. Still we try to be accommodating as best we can. If someone want to receive on the tongue, I will ask them to receive in the hands, but if they insist, I simply ask them to wait until the end of the line so that they are the last to receive. They can then receive on the tongue, following which I am able to again sanitize my hands. Continue reading →
During these last days as the topic of racial justice was omnipresent around us, someone emailed to ask if Francis of Assisi had ever written on race relationships. The short answer is “no.” Francis of Assisi lived in the 13th century growing up in the Umbria region of Italy. His world was provincial and focused on the world in which diversity meant which town you were from and the “other” referred to the “Saracens,” against whom the Crusades were aimed in order to free the Holy Land from Islamic control. Continue reading →
This is a wonderful article by Ms. Jennifer Manning, mom, teacher, scholar and gifted writer. Jennifer’s mom works with me in the parish and passed her daughter’s “musings” along. And with Jennifer’s permission, I pass this along for your enjoyment.
About a week into the stay-at-home order in Massachusetts, one of my colleagues sent an email expressing how he missed life at the Jesuit, all boys school where we teach. He wrote something like, “I find myself struggling with missing the students, all of you, and the Eucharist.” Continue reading →