Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Homily Corpus Christi 10 June 2007

Every few years the bishops of the Church
gather in a special meeting called a "Synod."

The "Year of the Eucharist"…
called for by Pope John Paul the Great shortly before his death…
ended in October 2005 with a Synod of Bishops in Rome.
The theme of the Synod was:
"The Eucharist: the Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

It is also the case that, following each synod,
the Holy Father writes a document called an "Apostolic Exhortation,"
explaining the themes and outcomes of the meeting.
In the Spring of this year, the Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Exhortation
following the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist was published.
It is titled: Sacramentum caritatis. The Sacrament of Charity.
Available online…

Today…as we gather to celebrate Corpus Christi…
this Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ…
it is a fitting time to reflect on the Eucharistic themes and lessons
our Holy Father shares with us in this document.

The Pope explains that he intends to set this document alongside his first Encyclical:
Deus caritas est. God is Love.
Pope Benedict has a fondness for a two-step approach to theological topics.
He explores first the theological foundations of the topic…
and then moves on to the practical considerations.
The first Encyclical moves from
a consideration of the theological meaning and nature of love
to a reflection on the practice of love…
how what we believe about love
and about God who is Love…
is lived out in the life of the Church.
The Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis
begins with the theology of the Eucharist…
and progresses toward liturgical expression and practice.

The two documents go hand-in-hand
in the Pope’s pastoral approach to the Church in our time.

In his first writing as Pope, Benedict set out to teach the Church
what love is…or rather…Who Love is…
and to teach us what love means to us as the Church.

Now we see him exploring the very heart of our faith and life as Catholics…
the Eucharist…
right alongside his understanding of the meaning and practice of love.

Pope Benedict’s words to us
flow through a three-fold expression of the mystery of the Eucharist:
The Eucharist is a mystery to be believed…
to be celebrated…
and to be lived.

It is the Revelation of the Son of God…God who is Love itself.
It is the celebration of the sacrificial love of Christ on the Cross.
It compels us to live and love with the passion and fervor of our Eucharistic Christ.

The Eucharist is first of all "A Mystery to be Believed."
It is…Mysterium fidei…a Mystery of Faith…
as the priest proclaims in the Eucharistic Prayer.
Not a mystery in the sense of something that confounds us.
A mystery in the sense of something before which we drop to our knees
in humble adoration.
The Mass is not just some thing among many which we Catholics do.
The Mass is the greatest event in which we poor mortal humans can share…
for in the Mass heaven is wedded to earth…
and we are given a foretaste of the glory which is to come.
The Real Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle is not just one part of our religion…
alongside the customs of each other religious sect.
Such indifferentism must be avoided.
Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist…
in tabernacles in every corner of the globe…
is a reality for the whole world to rejoice in and to adore.
The Eucharist is the very source and summit of our life…
the very heart of who we are.
The Church’s faith is "Eucharistic."
All that we know and love as Catholics centers in Jesus’ abiding, loving presence.
All the other Sacraments are "bound up in" and "directed toward" the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is the fountain of the grace we depend on for living our Catholic life.

Secondly, the Eucharist is "A Mystery to be Celebrated."
"Lex credendi, lex orandi" exclaims the ancient phrase of the Church.
"The law of believing is the law of praying."
The Church’s beliefs are expressed in her prayer…
especially in her public, liturgical prayer.
The Liturgy of the Church is a celebration of what we believe.
The Mass is a celebration…in words, songs, and rituals…
of all that we believe about Jesus…
and of His real and abiding presence with us in the Eucharist.

The Pope reminds us that the our faith in the Eucharist and the liturgy of the Mass
are intimately united and "have their source in the same event:"
"Christ’s gift of Himself in the Paschal Mystery."
Thus the celebration of the Mass "should be…celebrated authentically."
It must be a true and authentic expression of the Church’s actual beliefs.
It must be celebrated properly, according to the Church’s norms and tradition.
Ultimately, the Mass is not about what we do.
It is about what God does in us and for us.
The liturgical action is the work of Christ, the real celebrant of the Liturgy.
We are called to place ourselves
at the service of the great gift of Christ in the Eucharist…
and at the service of the Church’s ancient tradition…
realities greater than us, which we dare not presume to control…
realities which we love, adore, and serve.

Third, the Eucharist is "A Mystery to be Lived."
The Eucharist should have a real and lasting impact in our daily lives.
Sunday is not just another day for us.
It is the Lord’s Day…the day of the Resurrection…
the Day of Pentecost: the birth of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is the day of celebrating our Eucharistic faith.
A day of giving thanks for all the many blessings God has bestowed on us.
A day of resting in the Lord.
A day of enjoying the love and company of family and friends.
It is the day on which we must go to Mass… not because "the Church says so"…
but because God is so good to us…
and our hearts burn with a desire to praise Him…
to give thanks to Him…and to be more deeply united with Him.

The Mass we celebrate ends with the words "The Mass is ended, go in peace."
In the original Latin phrase, Ite, Missa est…
the words "Missa" comes from the Latin word for sending forth.
We are sent forth to live and proclaim what we have celebrated.
The Eucharist we receive transforms us…and becomes the "form of our life."
Because of the Eucharist, our lives are not the same as the rest of the world.
Because we receive Christ’s Body and Blood, and carry Him within us…
indulging in sin, greed, evil and worldly pleasure makes no sense for us.
Because Christ lives within us, we are compelled to be uniquely loving people.
We become one with Christ in this Holy Mass…
and so must strive to become one with Him in our lives…
by imitating His love, humility, and radical self-offering for the sake of others.

As the title of the Holy Father’s Exhortation proclaims…
The Eucharist is the "Sacrament of Charity…the Sacrament of Love."

The Church believes in and lovingly receives the Eucharist…
She lovingly celebrates this great mystery in the Mass
She lovingly proclaims Christ the Eucharistic Lord to the whole world.

May we always center our whole lives around this great Sacrament of love!

No comments: