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Contents: Volume 2 - BODY & BLOOD - C
June 19th, 2022

 

  BODY

&

BLOOD

 (C)

 

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

 

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1.

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 2022

In the Gospel passage according to Luke, we hear/read the story of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. The story is symbolic in many ways, but especially in the abundance that we receive when we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion to this day. The words that struck me in this familiar story were: "They all ate and were satisfied."

Receiving Holy Communion during the pandemic was a rare occurrence in most places until recently. For me, participating in the Mass on line just wasn't the same. Something, no SOMEONE, seemed to be missing, even with the Spiritual Communion prayer that was said.

Using all our senses now as we receive this GIFT, if we savor the experience, is indeed satisfying. A truly wonderful sense of calmness always happens to me. It is as if nothing else matters!

In truth, however, it all matters because it all matters to God. The other people, the music, the Scriptures, and the prayers are all part of the "abundance" that comes along with its Source. Actually everything flows from the Source.

As we celebrate this weekend, let us remember the Gift we have been given. Let us be truly grateful for the connection it insures. Let this Gift flow through us to others as well. Such was Jesus's intent, so let it be our mission as we are sent forth.

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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Holy Body and Blood of Christ June 19 2022

Genesis 14:18-20; Responsorial Psalm 110; 1st Corinthians 11:23-26; Sequence Lauda Sion; Gospel Acclamation John 6:51; Luke 9:11-17

These first two Sundays after Pentecost are heavily loaded with intensely constructed faith matters. The presentation of the Trinity and then the second Sunday, the presentation of the Body and the Blood of the Lord are essential to faith growth. For most faithful, not trained professionals in theological, and/or philosophical thought and process, these two topics tend to remain in piety and devotion. Often times that means these two great faith-truths lack the energy to make a difference in human lives. Those are two of the four great underpins of worldly Christian living. The other two are the Incarnation which includes all of the life of Jesus and especially his cross and resurrection. The second is the celebration of Pentecost as the abiding presence of the Spirit of God, that advocate promised, that energizer, that fountain of appreciation and concern for all that is incarnated. So why Trinity, why Body and Blood of Jesus the anointed one, the Christ? There is a lot to unpack about these articles of our faith. Our faith comes to us and remains with us and influences our daily living in community. This is no "me and Jesus" truth. The truth of the Trinity to our living is that the Trinity is a community, and the life of God is in fact a communal life that is held together as One by unconditional, unlimited, and constant love. So also, is the community we call church. Even better put we should call it the assembly, a coming together of those called to gather. That is the meaning of the Hebrew word – Quahal which transmutes to us by way of the German Kirche and thus into the word "church." The Trinity is the model of eternal life. For God in three persons is beyond time and space though they are the source and creator of both time and space. If we somehow wish for eternal life, we are in fact seeking to participate in the Life of God. Our feeble attempts to define, paint pictures of life after death all appear pretty boring. We just do not know what it is like. Only that the revelation tells us that "eye has not seen, hear has not heard what God has ready for us." We experience – unless we are filled with pride and hubris – our incompleteness, our lack of knowledge and skill and a clear and certain grasp of truth. In even the most dedicated and committed marriage there remains a nagging doubt about the completeness and finality of that personalized relationship. Only eternal life residing exclusively in the Trinity contains all that. God’s life is a life of relationships, of community, of loving other so completely that three are in fact one. The vocation to marriage is a human way to experience that love. Marriage, lived well, is a growth toward union, toward oneness. The wedding day is merely a starting point. Love on that day is more about appeal and a start to commitment that will grow or fail in decay. Marriage vows given are a commitment to living in that relationship to discover the depth, width, and height of love. Such love, discovered in marriage, is a door opening into the life of the Trinity.

This week, the relationship with God and community is about Communion, also called the Eucharist, also known as the Body and the Blood of the Christ. We cannot think of "Christ" as the last name of Jesus. Christ is the ultimate achievement of Jesus. Before his ministry, in his ministry, and ultimately through his struggle with death, all this is capped by being raised up alive and renewed by his resurrection. Jesus became the anointed one, the Christ at that victory. His life, death, resurrection, and ascension are for us a roadmap as to how we grow into oneness with one another. And through that oneness with one another in community, we come into union with the Trinity. Life for humans is a matter of growth – or decay: maturation or childishness; appreciation or cut-throat competition, and so on. The start of growth or decay is a binary choice in the direction we chose to live our lives. Once that choice is made the arc of our living heads in the direction of the choice. The binary choice is toward goodness/wholeness or toward evil/death of our spirits. Review again Matthew’s gospel, chapter 25, where judgment of lives lived are a review of life’s relationships. Rules are guides for personal choices. Relationships reach out toward union with community and ultimately with the Trinity.

Any adult living in the world knows the supreme difficulty of appreciating others. How is it possible to see others in a positive light when so much of their and our efforts are to beat others, to discover weak points and attack at those weak points for personal advantage. Maybe it is how they look; maybe it is personal hygiene habits; maybe it’s how they talk; maybe it’s the color of their skin; maybe it’s their language or accent; maybe it’s the company they keep. Whatever it is, there is always something about the other that irritates us. How to get beyond those incidentals? It has to be community. It has to be an association of persons who support one another in faith, in relationship, all laced with appreciation for the dignity and worth of the others. Francis would name this "accompaniment" an environment where we walk in the shoes of others and lift up the fallen down, celebrate the joys of life, heal the broken and broken hearted, and discover God present with us.

Church is more than the institution needed to maintain order. It is an assembly of those called together in a common faith from which springs hope for wholeness (i.e., holiness) which creates in the human heart sympathy, empathy, and charity toward members and non-members alike. Thus, church affects the world through its persons. That is how we must model and evangelize the world – by loving one another and by accompanying the others – members and non-members.

The rituals of our liturgies teach us – not merely the liturgy of the Word, but also the liturgy of Eucharist. Rituals are the classroom repetition so necessary to hardwire learning into the movements of our hearts. The reality of it all is that the movements, the objects of our heart’s desires and inclinations actually color and energize mental processes. What attracts us, what we appreciate, what we love mitigates how we engage with reality. Actually, it controls how we understand and live in reality. What and how we love develops our character or demeans it. What is hard to comprehend is that the words of Scripture and of homilies may be the same each time proclaimed. But our ears are not the same each time we hear. We hear with different ears each cycle and discover even more inspiration and encouragement because of who we are at that reading.

In addition to the Word, our liturgies contain a communion service we call the Eucharist. That word is from the Greek and means "Thanksgiving," the verb meaning "to give thanks." It is in giving thanks that we discover appreciation. It is in giving thanks that we are aware of gifts. But there is more to the Eucharist than giving thanks. If we reflect on the miracles of Jesus, we will notice each miracle for a person has the effect of returning a person to an active role in community. Each healing, each exorcism, each feeding had the effect of enriching the community with this healed, this freed, this nourished person.

The offertory is about much more than financial support. It is a collection of the endeavors and successes and failures of the preceding week. This is not always able to be symbolized by money. Even those who can put nothing on the collection plate, even they are to offer something. In this way, what is the work and efforts, and life of each person is made a sacrifice of great value. All that is placed on the altar becomes the "stuff" which the presider calls on the Spirit to transform into the Body and Blood of the Lord. Even the smallest gift becomes transformed. Thus, rich, or poor, powerful or weak, healthy or sick – all is transformed, thus making human life valued and enriched. Then when we receive the Body and the Blood of the Christ, we in effect receive the work of each person gathered in assembly. By our presence in the assembly and more totally by our gifts for the altar we become one with each other attending. As a sign and symbol of that unity, it is a recommendation that those returning to their place after receiving, may and ought to stand until the entire assembly has received. This is a sign of the reality of the assembly united in the Body of the Lord.

But there is something Paul writes in the reading about the gatherings of Christians. This is the earliest writing about the Eucharist we have. The gospels were written after this letter to the Corinthians. After the consecration of the Bread, Jesus says, "do this in memory of me." After the consecration of the cup, Jesus says, "do this in memory of me." Does Jesus mean, have Mass to remember me? Or is there that plus a whole lot more?

"Do this in memory of me" is not just attending mass. It is doing what Jesus is doing at the table but as well in the whole of his living, his ministry, his teaching, his miracles, and most certainly his death and his resurrection. It is for us to practice charity – ah, there is that last virtue. We come in faith, with hope for growth, and we walk with this community gathered and carry out of those doors what faith, hope instructs us to do – that is to love our neighbor as God loves us. Whether that neighbor is called together with us or not, makes no difference for all are created in the image and likeness of God. In our care and love of all those others, we are practicing what it is we believe and what we hope. That charity completes the liturgy of the Mass.

My mother in the final years of her life was part of a community of praise. She was unable to attend within the community. But Father Wyen established at St. Henry parish a community of praise. Each shut-in committed to praying for the parish and each other. They were each given a clay fired cup in the shape of a chalice. When they suffered, they were to mentally place that suffering in the cup to add to the Blood of the Lord. In this way they remained connected to the parish. In this way, they were fulfilling the advice of Jesus – "do this in memory of me." It provided meaning and purpose to suffering and to enduring the difficulties of sickness and aging. It made a difference to the parish and to its members.

Dennis Keller dkeller002@nc.rr.com

 

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BECOMING ONE WITH JESUS IN HOLY COMMUNION

Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17

In a nursing home the residents were gathered in the chapel for the feast we are celebrating, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of the Eucharist. One old woman, wheel-chair bound, was wearing two hats. A carer from the home tried to remove one, but the woman clung on tightly to her two hats. In her efforts to tidy up the situation, the carer saw that she was now defeated. So, she backed off, and let the old lady be.

Perhaps, like the old-time prophets, that old lady was acting out a message to the gathered group. Perhaps she was saying: you all should wear two hats, i.e., who you are as individuals – as Ann, Bob, Barbara, Brian, Paul, Carol, Kevin, Margaret, Peter, Luke, Betty, whoever - but who you should also be as a baptized follower of Jesus - i.e., as another Christ to others.

Speaking of Holy Communion, St Augustine in the 400s in North Africa, said many wise things about who we are as cells and parts, of the body of Christ. Among other things he said: 'You are what you have received.' The first of the signs in which we receive Jesus Christ is the sign of bread. In the course of digestion, the bread and the person eating it become one. The bread is assimilated into the body of the one eating. When we receive Jesus as our Bread of Life for our journey of life, we are more and more one with him. But he is not changed into our bodies. No, we are changed, we are assimilated into his body. It means that we are incorporated more deeply too into that extension of himself that is his Church, the body of Christians in the world.

Profound implications follow for living our communion, our being joined and bonded to Christ and one another. These could hardly be better put than in words of St Teresa of Avila – these striking and beautiful words:

Christ has no body now but yours,

no hands, no feet on earth but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world.

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.

Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands. Yours are the feet. Yours are the eyes.

You are his body.

Yes, Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

At the Last Supper, Jesus dramatically acted out his care and concern for, his bonding and union with, his followers. He got down on his knees like a slave, went round the group, and washed their feet, one by one. It's interesting that St John, in his gospel of the Last Supper, does not mention the action of Jesus with the bread and wine. Instead, he tells us of the action of Jesus with a basin of water and a towel. In this way, John tells us the meaning of both actions of Jesus. It is all about belonging to one another in the same community of Christ, the community of faith, hope, and love, the community which is the Church. It is all about bonding and union with one another. It is all about humbly serving one another. It is all about reaching out with warmth and care, and with welcome and hospitality to our neighbour, the neighbour who could hardly be better described than 'any person who needs me now - right here, and right now.’ As Mother Teresa, now St Teresa of Calcutta, has said so eloquently:

I know you think you should make a trip to Calcutta, but I strongly advise you to save your airfare and spend it on the poor in your own country. It’s easy to love people far away. It’s not always easy to love those who live right next to us. There are thousands of people dying for a bit of bread, but there are thousands more dying for a bit of love or a bit of acknowledgement. The truth is that the worst disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis; it’s being unwanted, it’s being left out, it’s being forgotten.

Love and service, welcome and hospitality, kindness and compassion, self-forgetfulness and generosity, that’s what it means to be ‘another Christ,’ to and to live his two commands. The first which we hear in the gospel today – ‘You give them something to eat’ (Luke 9:13) The second which we hear in the story of the Last Supper every time we pray the Eucharistic Prayer, the command: ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ (1 Cor 11:24).

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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Year C: Corpus Christi.

"This is my body."

Exactly thirty-six years ago, almost to the day, I set out with a good friend on a pilgrimage by bicycle from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the top right hand corner of England to Land’s End, in the bottom right hand corner of England. So the whole journey was the length of England - a journey of, according to the route we took (for which I was not responsible), more than a thousand miles from the top to the bottom of England.

It was a good trip, but we had a lot of tough days. And the toughest of all came in the Peak District. Now, my friends, I ask you as fair minded impartial judges, if you were asked to plan a cycle route through the length of England, and you came to a place on the map called the Peak District, don’t you think that’s something you should be going around rather than over? I mean, the clue is in name, right? Well, my friend, if he thought at all, thought differently. So over the top we had to go.

So, on this dreadful day, after about ten hours hard riding through what felt like a wall of cold bitter rain, we came to a little village high in the Peak District called Matlock to stay the night. We were tired; we were miserable; we were cold; we were wet; we were hungry; we were thirsty; we were unhappy; we were bickering; we were arguing; we were fighting – for two lads who were supposed to be on pilgrimage, that is just not a good look. And neither of us could remember why we were doing this stupid pilgrimage in the first place. But it was an important feast day - Corpus Christi – the Feast of the Eucharist and at that time they always had it on a Thursday and it was a Holy Day of Obligation. So, just about the one thing we could still agree on was that the first thing we wanted to do was to go to Mass. Now, to give my friend his due, he had at least planned for this bit. We had planned to be in Matlock on this day. We knew there was a church in Matlock. And we knew there was a priest in the village. And we knew where he lived. So as soon as we had parked up the bikes, we went and knocked on his door. He opened the door and we could see immediately that he was angry at being disturbed - well maybe he had been doing something important. But we asked, "Is there a Mass?" And he said, "No, it was earlier - you’ve missed it; come back tomorrow."

We didn’t say anything, but I think he could see to look at us that we were terribly disappointed. So, he changed his mind and he said he would offer a short Mass specially for us. So he brought us into the chapel and began the Mass. At the start, you could feel the anger and impatience in his every word and gesture. You could see it boiling up inside him. But as the Mass went on, you could see the Holy Spirit working in him, bringing him gradually to peace. His words became slower; his gestures more solemn and reverent. And he really began to pray the Mass. We prayed with him. We received communion and stayed to pray for a little while. And then we went on our way. And as we left, he said something, something beautiful, something which touched me, something that made me know that I too wanted to be a priest - he said, "Thank you - Thank you for being hungry for the Eucharist."

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to see the Spirit working in someone else? As we left the Church, I noticed that my friend now seemed much stronger, much brighter, much more positive than when we had arrived in the village. It was only many days later that I realised that I felt it too. And we could now remember why it had been important for us to do this pilgrimage. We were searching for direction - the Will of God - in our own lives. And now, in the Eucharist, we had received the food and the drink we needed for our journey - food and drink that would last us - in fact did last us - the whole journey.

Let us stand and profess our Faith in Christ who shared His Body and gave His Blood for our Salvation.

Paul O'Reilly, SJ. <fatbaldnproud@opalityone.net>

 

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