Week of 3/18/2018
The Power of the Most Holy Eucharist is never to be underestimated, a frequent error today. When we consult the vast teaching about the Blessed Sacrament throughout the 2000 years, there is no question what the Church teaches: the Host is truly the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. John’s Gospel teaches us Jesus’ precise words: in the original Greek: His literal Flesh and Blood. Countless early Church Fathers taught the same. The Council of Trent in 1551 reaffirmed this: First of all, the holy council teaches and openly and plainly professes that after the consecration of bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is truly, really and substantially contained in the august sacrament of the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of those sensible things.
As we prepare for Perpetual Adoration here at St. Theresa’s, let’s review key implications. Fundamental to Catholicism is what we know and how we should act on that knowledge. Why? Because how we act on certain knowledge indicates our love. When an adult has a priceless Stradivarius violin in hand, they will first instruct the child on the treasure this truly is. Far more for Holy Communion: we must teach our children the essentials of the Eucharist, in order for them to understand. But also, we must demonstrate that knowledge into action as well. We teach them how to be careful and how nothing else is as valuable as the Holy Eucharist.
One danger today is to invoke platitudes that sound nice but undermine a fundamental truth. People will say you don’t learn the Faith from a textbook, but from “life.” Personal experience is key, but we must learn the Bible, which is THE textbook! And the Catechism, which gives authentic interpretation of the Bible. What impelled the great saints in their love for the Eucharist is that they understood, after being taught their Catechism, the true nature of the Eucharist. We don’t grow to love saints because of a picture; but because of what we learn about their lives. Hence the critical nature of learning our catechism that the Eucharist is not a symbol but truly God in the Flesh.
This also begs the question of reverence. It is profoundly necessary that we have fundamentals for approaching the Eucharist. We genuflect before the tabernacle with the True Presence acknowledgment that the Eucharist is God in the Flesh. When receiving Communion, I am required to make an act of reverence before. I can kneel at the altar rail to receive; this allows time to reflect, to receive reverently, and time to absorb the moment. If standing, I bow as the person ahead of me receives. If on the hand, I must receive carefully: two hands; NEVER one. Hands shaped like a cross, never cupped, and then the Host is consumed immediately. Why all this? To protect the Sacrament. Because if we believe, then we act on it! If there are any particles on my hand remaining, I must touch my tongue to them; they are still the Body of Christ.
A danger today is the growing informality. While being informal in some cases can make things seem comfortable, during Holy Mass a formality is maintained because it teaches us God is God. It is a poor expression to say we can be overly reverent; if we are putting on a show for others, that is wrong. But if we are judging others who wish to be very reverent that is equally wrong as well. Act on your belief, and you will deepen your belief. Don’t act on it and belief will weaken.
Last week Bishop Caggiano came and confirmed all our candidates in a beautiful Mass. Special thanks to our wonderful team DRE Joanne Durkin, Karen Lannigan, our new confirmation director, our confirmation catechists Maggie Carroll, Steve Keedle, Cheryl Maloney, Ginny Silva, and Steve Sinise, and our RE assistants Jodi Angiolillo and Andrea Manco. We also thank our great Knights of Columbus for a wonderful color guard and ushering. And our fabulous choir, led by Dr. Carolina Flores, who brought such beautiful music to the Holy Mass.
God love you,
Fr. Brian Gannon