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Friday, June 12, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
Each and every year following the end of the Easter Season with Pentecost, the Church celebrates two great fundamental mysteries of our Faith. Last weekend’s Celebration of Trinity Sunday and this weekend, feast is that of Corpus Christi or Body of Christ.
We know that the celebration of the Mass is made up of two parts: Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist. The word “liturgy” may be defined as “public worship.” Even since very early times those who were aspiring to join in as followers of “The Way” of Jesus were invited to the assembly. However, when the first half of the liturgy was finished, they were dismissed. Only the initiated were allowed to remain for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The initiated would be the ones who had knowledge, appreciation, and belief in what was happening, as the community remembered Jesus at the last supper. When those in formation to joining the community demonstrated their knowledge, appreciation and belief in the transformation that takes place at the consecration, they were then admitted to Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
This weekend’s first reading from one of the books of the Torah, the Book of Deuteronomy, recalls the hunger and thirst of the Hebrew ancestors when they escaped slavery in Egypt and began their forty-year journey in the desert. It recalls how they hungered and how God provided mana from heaven for them to eat. The Gospel of John, the last Gospel to be written and the one that comes from an already developed exercise of Liturgy and Worship, provides us with the early community’s understanding of what we believe when we celebrate the Eucharist. My favorite verse is John 6:54 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” St. Paul, in the second reading for the feast, echoes the “Tradition” that he himself had to learn and appreciate. This earliest written text account of the events of the Last Supper give evidence of the faith that the early community had so carefully handed down to us, even today. A few verses later in John’s Gospel account, which we proclaimed this weekend, because Jesus spoke of His flesh and blood in this way, many disciples went back to their former way of life causing Him to turn to His immediate followers and ask: “Do you also want to leave?” “Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69).
Because of these rather outspoken expressions of our faith in what we do at Holy Eucharist, candidates for Initiation Sacraments, for fear they would misunderstand, were not allowed to be present as the congregation partook of the Body and Blood of the Lord. This is an awesome mystery of our Faith and one that we should never take for granted but one that we need to continue to teach to our children and for us to bow in humble appreciation for the presence of our Lord among us in Holy Eucharist.