The most important thing we do as a parish family is our celebration of the Sunday Eucharist. We are so blessed that we have many organizations and ministries and committees, a fine school, and so many opportunities for faith formation, but without the Eucharist at the center of our parish life, those mean nothing.
We are in the midst of a national Eucharistic revival, which will culminate in a National Eucharistic Congress scheduled to take place in Indianapolis in July 2024. This weekend, we renew and strengthen our dedication to the Eucharist as we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ. This feast combines the old feasts of Corpus Christi and the Most Precious Blood into one feast day that celebrates the great gift of the Eucharist, Christ’s body and blood, soul and divinity. On Holy Thursday, we remember the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus on the night before he died, but our joy at that gift seems overshadowed by the somberness of those days of Holy Week. So on this great feast we are filled with joy and gratitude at Christ’s continued presence in the Eucharist!
This feast should inspire all of us to re-evaluate our love, appreciation, and respect for the Eucharist that we celebrate and share every Sunday, not simply the consecrated host, but the liturgy that unites is and sends us forth to be Christ’s body, the Church. To help promote our full, active, and conscious participation in the Eucharist, may I propose a few questions for our reflection at the beginning of this new week, a “Eucharistic examination of conscience”, if you will…
- Do you come to Mass every Sunday, or could your attendance be a little better?
- Do you make it a priority to come to Mass on time, or are you a bit lax and often late?
- Do you fully, actively, and consciously participate in the Mass by praying, singing, and responding?
- Do you pick up your songbook and sing or try to learn the hymn, even if you don’t know it?
- Do you read the Sunday Scriptures ahead of time and try to take time to meditate on the Word of God?
- Do you know your fellow parishioners who sit by you week after week, or do you rush in and out of Church as fast as you can so as not to be bothered?
- Are you respectful so as not to disturb others who are praying before or after Mass?
- Are you teaching your young children to act properly and reverently in Church?
- Do you come to Mass properly dressed, showing Christ and your fellow parishioners proper respect by not wearing what you would wear to the tennis court or swimming pool, or do you not give your appearance a second thought?
- Do you use your envelopes or contribute online for the support of your parish, or are you selfish with your stewardship?
- Do you remember to honor Christ and genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle?
- Do you remember to fast for one hour before receiving Holy Communion?
- Do you reply “Amen” when the priest or minister says “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ”?
- The Blood of Christ is being offered once again; can you drink from the Cup as a fuller sign of Christ’s presence?
- Do you take time to pray after receiving Holy Communion, praising and thanking God for this gift and asking for divine help?
- Do you take time for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament during the week, especially during our Eucharistic Adoration on Thursdays?
- Can your devotion to, knowledge of, participation in the Eucharist in any way be deeper, better, more?
For each and every one of us, the answer to that final question is yes… and today is the day!
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar!