Have You Ever Heard a Sermon On…

Have you ever heard a sermon on…

Have you ever heard a sermon on any of these subject headings taken from the United States Bishops document “Body of Christ: Broken for the World? (2013)?

  • The Eucharist sensitizes us to those who suffer.
  • The Eucharist moves us and inspires us to respond.
  • The Eucharist challenges us to recognize and confront structures of sin.
  • The Eucharist prepares us for mission.

We have heard homilies galore about the miracle of the last supper and how at each Eucharist the priest makes present the body and blood of Christ.

The criterion for the authenticity of  Eucharistic celebrations.

Have we heard Saint John Paul II’s criterion for judging the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations? He tells us very directly

 “our ability to go and do likewise in imitation of Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet is the “criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations is judged” (Mane Nobiscum Domine [Stay with us, Lord], no. 28).

Jesus must have foreseen how poorly understood we have understood his washing of the feet to his disciples. No wonder when he was finished he pointedly asked them. Do you understand what I have done? If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet I want you to do the same. Do it in memory of me.

I wonder how many times we have left a Eucharist or a Corpus Christi procession sensitized to those who suffer, inspired to respond to those sufferings,  even if it means recognizing and confronting the structures of sin?

Pope Francis calls us to foster a “Eucharistic Culture”.

The Pope recently said that celebrating a Eucharistic Congress in the modern and multicultural city, where the Gospel and the forms of religious affiliation have become marginal, means cooperating with God’s grace in order to spread a “Eucharistic culture” through prayer and activity.

This culture, he pointed out, is grounded in hearing the Word of God and in breaking the bread in the Eucharistic celebration. For this to happen, the Holy Father recommended the attitudes of communion, service and mercy.

In particular, he explained that the attitude of service impels the Eucharistic community to be present in places of frailty, under the shadow of the cross, in order to share and to bring healing.  Through spiritual and corporal works, the balm of mercy can be poured in numerous places and situations, such as families in difficulty, young people and adults without work, the sick and the elderly who are abandoned, migrants experiencing hardship and acts of violence, and many other forms of poverty.

In these places of wounded humanity, the Pope said, Christians celebrate the memorial of the Cross and make living and present the Gospel of Jesus the Servant, by spreading the seeds of a Eucharistic culture by becoming servants of the poor.

Remember the words of Blessed Frederick Ozanam: …..

the poor we see with the eyes of flesh; they are there and we can put finger and hand in their wounds and the scars of the crown of thorns are visible on their foreheads; and at this point incredulity no longer has place and we should fall at their feet and say with the Apostle, “You are my Lord and my God!” You (the poor) are our masters, and we will be your servants. You are for us the sacred images of that God whom we do not see, and not knowing how to love Him otherwise shall we not love Him in the person of the poor?”

Some questions to reflect on before the Eucharist…

  • What issues affecting your community and the world today weigh deeply on your heart?
  • Spend some time bringing these concerns before the Blessed Sacrament.
  • During your time before Christ in the Eucharist, can you sense his compassion? Love? Desire to transform all that opposes human life and dignity?
  • What gifts has God, the Father, given you? How might he be asking you to use these gifts in the service of others?
  • How does the Eucharistic meal compel you to care for those who are hungry?
  • How might the Holy Spirit be moving you to join with others to respond to problems in your family, neighborhood, or community?

“Body of Christ: Broken for the World? (2013)

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