Results filtered by “The Eucharist”

Room for Jesus

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May 6, 2023 was a significant life marker for me. it was the 50th anniversary of my First Holy Communion. (And yes, that makes makes me feel old!) I remember the solemnity of the long procession from our classrooms where we gathered before Mass to the church. It seemed we would never get in. It took forever in the mind of this second grader. I don't remember much about the Mass, what music we sang, or even remember where my parents were sitting. (We were seated in front as a class.) I remember receiving my First Communion from the pastor, which was by intinction back in those times. I do remember part of the homily given, probably because the priest said it repeatedly. I paraphrase, "Did you prepare a room for Jesus?" Back then, I didn't know what those words could mean other than knowing that as I received communion that Jesus would dwell in me. As years passed that questions became clearer. Now I ask myself, do I make room for Jesus? Do I make room for him in my day, my life? 

Let us all ask ourselves, "Did I prepare a room for Jesus?" And, if Jesus has that dwelling place in my heart, how am I doing at letting him change that heart? The Eucharist gives us the ability to change and the strength to fulfill the mission of Christ.  Let us ask ourselves, "Do I recognize the strength  I receive from the Eucharist?" 

Posted by Paul Burzynski

The Great Gift of the Eucharist

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Recently, I was exercising at the Wisconsin Athletic Club, the people there are friendly and I enjoy the opportunity to keep my body loose for school recess. The room I was exercising in was shared between myself and two other men. One of the men I had never seen before, the other had become an acquaintance. At one point I moved to another part of the building when, shortly after, the man I was an acquaintance with excitedly came up to me. He eagerly told me that he started a conversation with the third man in the room and it turns out he was a VP for none other than the famous website Facebook and had the wealth to prove it. As much as I was surprised to hear that such a man had somehow found his way into the WAC in Brookfield and had been in the same room as me, I was more surprised at my indifference to such a fact. I simply could not match or come close to the excitement my friend was displaying. I found this quite strange. After all, this man was, according to my friend, worth many millions if not billions, how could I not be at least somewhat excited to think I was a mere feet away from him. 

As the week went on I mulled this over and an answer slowly became clear. While this man represented the pinnacle of worldly wealth, it pales in comparison to what myself and every Catholic has. For in my poor and unworthy hands, I have held the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, my hands have held God himself. When I enter through the doors of the Church, I find myself in the same room as the God who was born in a manger, walked on water, forgives sins, created me and died for me. What could this man offer to me that I do not already have?

The longer I am a priest, the more I am in awe and gratitude for the great gift of the Eucharist. The world can offer me many things, but it cannot offer me God himself. Perhaps that is why it is so fitting that the word “Eucharist” means Thanksgiving.

God of Kept Promises

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“Hosanna!” It’s a word we say or sing at each Mass as the priest prepares to consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. For many of us, it is most likely a word that gets overlooked, quickly gotten through as just another part of the Eucharistic prayer. But it means something quite specific and quite special, offering a key to understanding the truth about our God.

Hosanna can be translated as “Please save us” or “Please, Lord, come”. In the Eucharistic prayer, then, as we say “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of Your Glory, Hosanna in the highest…,” we are first glorifying God and then begging Him to come and save us.

And what happens after we do? He quite literally hears our prayer and comes! The priest, acting in the authority of Christ, the Head of the Church, initiates the transubstantiation, and Our Lord is really and truly present among us. We beg for Him, and He answers our prayers, showing us in a very real and beautiful way that our God is a God of kept promises. Ask and receive. Beg for Him and He will come.

“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:11)

Ever the Good Shepherd, God gathers us to Him. He cares for us; He feeds us, physically and spiritually.

During every age since the first day dawned after the Fall, our world has seemed a darkening place, where a separation exists between Creator and created, not His doing but ours. We perpetuate that separation every day with our venial and mortal sins, and despite our continuation in this life of sin, when we beg God for hear our prayers and come to us and the priest offers the sacrifice to the Father, Our Lord arrives, and does something so miraculous, unexpected and overwhelmingly loving: He elevates us from our mundane, sinful lives to ultimately share in something we can never earn and certainly do not deserve. As Fulton Sheen writes, “Everything in nature has to have communion in order to live; and through it what is lower is transformed into what is higher: chemical into plants, plants into animals, animals into man. And man? Should he not be elevated through communion with Him Who ‘came down’ from heaven to make man a partaker in the Divine nature?”.

This call-and-answer dialogue that occurs in each Mass shows unequivocally that our God is the God of kept promises, not solely in the past but in the present and we can trust, also in the future. It is in real time  that He keeps His promise - “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) - so that He is here, now. All we need to do is ask and we can receive.

With the dark circumstances that constantly surround us in this world, without this well-founded trust in God, without His daily Eucharistic miracles, despair would be a threat to each and every one of us, and perhaps might even be our ultimate and inevitable conclusion, certainly non-believers struggle deeply in trying times such as we’re in now - but as Christians, and specifically as Catholic Christians, we have the ultimate hope.

So the next time you’re at Mass and the Eucharistic prayer begins, remember that you are asking God to come and save you. And He is.