Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
June 14 A..D. 2009
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
A reflection on today's Scripture:
On the Sunday following Pentecost, the Church celebrates the greatest gift of Jesus to those who remain on earth -- the loving presence of His sacred Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. This feast celebrates a promise made by the Master that He would remain with His church until the end of the ages, a promise that He would keep close to us as a friend, and nourish us with the Food of Life.
Blood is mentioned in all three readings today. Moses sprinkled blood on the Israelites as a sign of a covenant between God and His people. Jesus shed His blood on Calvary as a new covenant was made between God and those newly redeemed. The Holy Eucharist was established at the Last Supper so that we who are baptized into Christ might share with Him in His dying and rising, joining our own sufferings with His for the continuing salvation of the world. Our liturgy refers to the Eucharist as "food for the journey" in a double sense. The "journey" means, first of all, our earthly journey from birth to death, as well as our heavenly journey when it is given to the dying person as Viaticum (literally, "with you on the way").
There was a time in our history when an overemphasis on the sacredness of this food limited the reception of Eucharist to once or twice a year, or in exceptional cases to once a month, since Christians were seen as "not worthy" of so great a gift. Pope Pius X corrected this abuse, restoring the practice of frequent Communion, while stating that the Body and Blood of Christ is medicine for our weakness, not a reward for holiness. We will never appreciate enough this greatest of gifts -- the Body and Blood of Jesus, both sign and reality.
Unfortunately, there is now a laxity in proper preparation on the part of Catholics before receiving Holy Communion. Many have forgotten the rule that we must rid ourselves of serious sin by the Sacrament of Reconciliation before presenting ourselves at the altar. If a priest is not available, we should make a good act of sorrow, then receive Holy Communion. Even then, we are obliged to make a good confession as soon as possible. Today is a good day for us to ask the question, "Have I carefully prepared myself to receive my Lord and my God with respect and love? Do I allow the love and mercy and joy of Jesus to flow through me to all I meet?"
We will never appreciate enough this greatest of gifts -- the Body and Blood of Jesus, both sign and reality.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
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Sunday, June 14, 2009
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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