SACRAMENT OF HOLY EUCHARIST

The most august sacrament is the Most Holy Eucharist in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered, and received and by which the Church continually lives and grows. The Eucharistic sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated through the ages is the summit and source of all worship and Christian life, which signifies and effects the unity of the people of God and brings about the building up of the Body of Christ. Indeed, the other sacraments and all the ecclesiastical works of the apostolate are closely connected with the Most Holy Eucharist and ordered to it. (CIC 897) (So tell me again why someone might not consider this important in his or her life?)

 The Lord’s Day Masses at Saint Michael’s are on Sunday at 8:00am and 10:00am, and the “anticipatory” Vigil Mass is on Saturday at 4pm. Weekday Masses are on Mondays and Fridays at 5:30pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8:00am. Masses for Holy Days of Obligation vary; consult the bulletin.

The Lord, having loved those who were His own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of the meal He washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love. In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from His own and to make them sharers in His Passover, He instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of His death and Resurrection, and commanded His apostles to celebrate it until His return; "thereby He constituted them priests of the New Testament.”

(Council of Trent, quoted in CCC 1337)

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If the Church were a football team, Mass would be the “huddle”; if a baseball team, it would be the infielders and the pitching coach gathering at the mound, each covering his hands while speaking (we are celebrating, as the Eastern Church calls them, the “Holy Mysteries,” “mystery” coming from the Greek muein, to close the mouth—think “mute”).

The Breaking of Bread/Divine Liturgy/Holy Sacrifice of the Mass/Sacred Synaxis/Most Blessed Sacrament/Holy Communion/Holy Eucharist is sacrifice, memorial, and banquet. Take one aspect away from the others, and the whole is corrupted. Priest: sacrifice; Prophet: memorial; King: banquet.

As members of the “Priesthood of the Baptized (aka Priesthood of the Faithful),” each of us is hard-wired for offering our life’s sacrifices in union with the One Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus. We are made for prophecy, in the liturgical proclamation of the Word and in its daily-life translation. We are (super)natural shepherds, doing service in the name and power of the First Footwasher.

Baptism cannot be “uninstalled” like software, though it must be activated and constantly updated (though it’s not as painful as Windows, though admittedly it is time-consuming). But that time is the best “waste” of time we can ever expend, because it inserts us into eternity. Every Mass takes us to the foot of the Cross, to the table of the Upper Room, to the door of the Empty Tomb. In a rhythm of coming to and going forth, we receive what we need to demonstrate the reality and relevance of God to an impoverished world.

But Saint Paul is onto something when he warns: “A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; but since we are judged by [the] Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Cor 11:28-32). He is not to be taken lightly, nor “on our terms,” independent of the Lord and His Church. If we are habitually and defiantly living in a manner contrary to His Way, we cannot allow that incompatibility to persist. Something’s gotta give!


 




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