Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Are you Oblivious to the Obvious?

Father John J. Lombardi

What the title above means, is-Do you or don't you know that Jesus Christ is fully Present in the Holy Eucharist? Do you "taste and see how good is the Lord"? (Ps ) in holy Communion ?

In this Sunday's Gospel (St. John 6:1-15-"The Eucharistic Chapter") Jesus feeds His people with the Bread of Life. How often we have heard these words proclaimed and yet how little we have fully penetrated their meaning: "Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them to the people reclining…When the people saw the sign He had done, they said: 'This is truly the prophet Who has come into the world". So, to help us both understand and appreciate Jesus' Words and Sacred Actions-especially in the holy Eucharist, below are, first, some thoughts of Fr. Al Winscham, a Jesuit priest who recently preached an "Evening of Eucharistic Healing" at the Grotto, and following this, some thoughts of this Chaplain…

Participation in the Eucharist/Fr. Al Winscham:

At the Offertory Prayer in the Mass we should ask the Lord accept us into His sacrifice w/ humble and contrite hearts-I suddenly realized that we partake of the Sacrifice of Jesus-we aren't remembering something 2000 yrs old but touching Calvary in the present moment. Let's do this, take part of our life and put into the bread and wine and offer ourselves within this offering…The Mass is a healing prayer as well as Sacrifice. We can take a gift and offer as gift within the Mass…In the beginning of the Mass we confess our sins to clear up way…Then we go into part of the Mass of Liturgy of Revealed Word (the readings from the Bible) in listening to God speaking to us personally-you might not get it now, His revelation, but something will strike you perhaps later-God is speaking to us all the time…In the Offertory-when bringing gifts of bread and wine-we should at Mass only bring these forth, not anything else except the collection for the poor-and place materially yourself, all yourself into the bread and wine-surrender to His love. Don't tell him what to do, He knows what to do , but let Him do however mysterious to you.

The Fourth Part of Mass-The Incarnate Word of God comes to us Eucharistically by the priest-in the Body and Blood of Christ,as in The Miracle of Lanciano (in 700 a doubting priest experienced a consecrated Host literally bleeding and this same Host is preserved today in this Italian town). Jesus Christ comes to us not just in "the flesh" but also in His Sacred Heart-so mingle with His Sacred Blood….Just put yourself, part of your life in Jesus' Life and Heart.

The Fifth Part of Mass is Communion: aligning with His Love-in an intimacy of Union-Jesus comes totally within us. This takes us into the Mind and Heart of Jesus…In the Sign of Peace-we should actually bring peace to others as Jesus did (not casually)-we're committing ourselves to Lord's love.

After receiving Holy Communion now give thanks to Him for what he is mysteriously doing within you, which we don't fully know…Conclusion: This is a way of praying the Mass. This is how my healing ministry has developed-Jesus is the only healer, and yet Jesus uses others to heal. We need to take the focus away form self and put it where it needs to be-in Jesus!

Now, "The List"-- Ten Points About the Eucharist (FJL)

  1. Participate in the Divine Desire of Jesus Christ: This means, especially at Mass, to seek, gain and cultivate Christ's holy inclination to sacrifice. It is one thing to "go to Mass," or "fulfill your duty" and it is quite another to sense and embrace the thoughts, sentiments and feelings of the Savior of the World. Do you feel the Lord's Passion in Mass? Do you sense His sacred desire to come and save souls? Do you become one with His Sacrifice?
  2. The Miraculous comes to us: In St John's Gospel account of this feeding of the five hundred we have a miracle-Jesus makes small amounts of bread become voluminous to feed many. In the Mass Jesus again, thru the sacred priest, changes bread and wine into His Body and Blood. In today's world with a loss of the supernatural, which is one of the greatest dangers of our times, we can tend to become "ho-hum" about Mass and receiving Holy Communion. How can you cultivate knowledge an experience of this Supernatural Event of The Eucharist? It seems so ordinary-a priest at the altar, some worshippers gathered, a few words of consecration, and the same appearance of bread and wine afterward-it is, perhaps for some, sometimes difficult to believe that this is Jesus, substantially Present in the Eucharist. It, He--Jesus, is not just a symbol now, or a transignification (meaning, erroneously, the only sign value of bread and wine has changed), but it is really Him therein in a miracle which happens daily upon our altars. Do you want to experience a miracle-then go to Mass and receive Holy Communion!
  3. Deliverer of Sins: In St. John's Gospel it says that "the Jewish feast of Passover was near…" This is "code" for Jesus is the New Passover; He is the New Covenant, He is the Sacrifice for our sins to forgive us. He is the Pure Offering, the Innocent Lamb for the propitiation of our sins which He alone can do.. Therefore: offer up with the priest the Sacrifice of the Mass so as to seek forgiveness of the world's sins.This is the "sense of the saints"-the mindfulness that they, the saints, could help redeem the world by participation in the Mass.
  4. He feeds us- God feeds us. In our world today most of us can get food wherever and whenever we want. But what about godly food?! Do you seek this food, this offering from Him? You rightly receive and accept offerings of dinners and meals from friends and family, but do you desire the Offering of Jesus?
  5. Divinization: Can you go to Mass-frequently even daily as The Catechism of the Catholic Church recommends? Look--no other religion promises this: the Bliss of Godliness, actually receiving the extension of Divinity unto ourselves. Jesus is offering this to you, His Divinity within you. Are you answering Him positively or ignoring Him blithely? Recall frequently His Divinizing promise: "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood will abide in Me and I in Him" (St Jn. 6:56)
  6. Prayer after Communion: This is one of the most important lessons-ever!-this chaplain has learned about spirituality and Mass-to pray and contemplate the Divine Reality we have just received in Holy Communion. This is difficult but do-able-to pray and focus within upon the Divine Indwelling Presence without distraction or . One of the best, important prayers to help you focus upon Jesus and Holy Communion, to help you become attracted and not distracted is here: Memorize it and pray frequently, "The Anima Christi": Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water form the side of Christ wash me clean. O Good Jesus: Hear me. From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me, and bid me come unto Thee, that with Thy saints I may praise Thee, forever and ever: Amen.
  7. Three Main Reasons of Mass, are…Adoration: This is the main reason why we exist-to praise, worship and adore the Lord. We should de this preeminently in the Holy Mass…Reparation: This means to make up for our and others' sins, to "repair the world" thru the Sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass. Let us pray for the sins of Islamofascists who kill innocent victims voluminously throughout the world in today's Battle of Terrorism. Let us pray for the conversion of us immersed in the materialism of the West, and for the destruction of innocent human life-the born and unborn. Let us offer up and re-direct the graces we receive in Holy Communion to wandering lost souls, to pornographers and drug addicts and all sinners. Thanksgiving: Herein we express and cultivate thanks for the Lord Himself coming to us, and for all His benefits
  8. Sacrament of Unity: This is a "title" given to the Eucharist because Holy Communion should bind us together, make us more united. So: Do you help others feel part of the worshipping community? Do you welcome others, invite them to Mass? In St James ( 2:2-5) we read of the point about welcoming someone who is rich and well clothed and not welcoming others who are poor and ill clad. Do you do this and embrace this mentality? We cannot be "pick and choose Catholics" and welcome whom we feel disposed to. Look: We have to go out of our way to greet and welcome others-move over on our bench, smile, greet and meet others and kinda' become an icon of Jesus so that all will feel welcome at the Lord's Supper
  9. Sacrament of Conversion: We cannot just go to Mass and do the same things we've always done-stay in our faults, keep sinning, and be lukewarm about bad behaviours. People like communist Prime Minister Jaruleski of Poland in the late1980's and Fidel Castro of Cuba in late 1990's attended Masses of Pope John Paul II-we don't know what effect the Mass had on them, but they were there. Hopefully it did convert them in some way-sooner or later, or subtly, to goodness and godliness even though their communist inclinations were hard and fast. But, think: if they could attend Mass can't you-more frequently?
  10. Feed Others: Jesus bestows to us in the Eucharist His Very Sacred Self, Real Food and True Drink. His Sacred Words don't report a reality that has changed but His words actually change the reality into a new Divine Reality-holy Communion. So as He feeds us we too should feed other-esp. those who are despised, alienated, ostracized and poor. Holy Communion should always lead us to helping others in charity.

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi