From the Pastor's Pen

Deacon's Bench ~ June 6th

The Feast of Corpus Christi

Take it; this is my body…. This is my blood of the covenant….”

On Corpus Christi, we Catholics celebrate the Eucharist, a Meal which so many Christian denominations have de-emphasized or, sadly, abandoned altogether. Let it not be so with us. 

At every Catholic Mass the Priest invites us to partake: “Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb!” To this we respond: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” We Catholics have a special duty to keep this Meal sacred. We can do that primarily by receiving it worthily.

First, that means sacramental Confession. As Father Klink told us many years ago, the Penitential Act (“I confess to almighty God…”) is not a substitute for sacramental Confession. So, we need to get ourselves to Confession. 

Once we have cleansed our consciences, a second way we could receive the Eucharist worthily is to give the Eucharistic Prayer our full attention. We have heard these prayers many times before; it is easy to drift off. But it is the Eucharistic Prayers that remind us what we are celebrating at this Meal and why. In Eucharistic Prayer II, the Priest says: “Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.” So, the Eucharistic Meal unites us as a family around the Lord’s Table.

Remember, Lord, Your Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her to the fullness of charity….” So, we are united in love not only with our Parish but with the Universal Church.

Remember also our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep in the hope of the Resurrection….” So, we are united also with the Church in Heaven; we can offer up this Sacrificial Meal for the Holy Souls in
Purgatory.

Have mercy on us all, we pray, that… we may merit to be coheirs to eternal life….” So, we hope that our worthy reception of the Eucharist will bring us to that eternal banqueting table, of which the Eucharistic Meal is only a foretaste. 

Thirdly, we can set aside all irritation and rancor against one another. That is why we offer each other the Sign of Peace.

Fourthly, we can receive the Body of Christ itself worthily. As an ancient text instructs believers: “…make your left hand a throne for the right, as if to receive a king. Then hollow your palm, and receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, ‘Amen.’ …Tell me, if anyone gave you grains of gold, would you not hold them with utmost care, on guard against losing any?

Lastly, we can maintain a reverent silence after receiving the Body of Christ, in silent prayer, or in quiet meditation on Christ’s love for us (rather than glancing around the church to see who’s here, or being
distracted by that cute baby in the next pew).

We Catholics are called to preserve this special gift. By our actions and disposition, let us keep it sacred, pure and inviolate.

 

Pastor's Pen ~ June 13th

Summer is here! After a season of Winter, trees have come alive with lush green foliage. Once again, Nature reveals that there is hope even after a challenging Winter. With the pandemic, the past year has been one “long winter” for the entire human race. Throughout the world, families have lost their loved ones due to Covid-19. Untold sufferings envelop the horizon of our lives. Yet, there is no room for despair. Nature’s exquisite beauty manifested in every leaf and blossom announce to us that there is hope. Yes, hope! Our hope is not a wishful thinking, or a self-medicated feeling. The Christian hope rests solidly on the awareness of God’s love generously expressed on the Cross. And Jesus’ resurrection offers the assurance of hope. Jesus, the risen Lord, is our Hope. The apostle Peter’s famed response resounds: “Lord, to whom shall be we go? (Jn 6:68).

Even in this chilling “long winter,” there have been astounding display of resilience and unstinting charity among communities. The human spirit amazes us. In our journey together as a Parish community, we too have experienced the incredible power of generosity. I know many have reached out to someone in time of need. Your support to the Parish has been praiseworthy. In doing so, each of you has kept the community of the Parish close to your heart. My sincere thanks to every family of the Parish. Without a hesitation, we can say that it is the Lord who has brought us this far. We have only reasons to raise our hearts in gratitude to God. 

With the easing of the restrictions related to Covid, more people begin returning to Sunday Mass. Certainly, it is a joyous news for all of us. In fact, I see the enthusiasm of everyone in participating the liturgy. There is more singing and a greater attentiveness. The Campus Beautification Committee volunteers continue to offer several hours of work inside and outside the Church to make it beautiful and welcoming to all. Again, it is simply a joy for me to see all these things happen. I am sure, each of you is also excited. Currently, the desire shall not be just getting back to “the old normal,” rather to a “new normal” of an excitingly powerful display of living of our faith. As we continue the journey together, it is important to show sensitivity to the concerns of everyone who join us in worship. I do know that many are still concerned and are yet to return. I would encourage everyone to reach out to a friend or a family that has concerns. If possible, get in touch with them or visit them. This is what we do as a community. Simply put, we must feel the absence of others. We can tell them that we miss them. This is the way to help the growth of God’s kingdom among us. 

The Sunday gospel presents to us a string of kingdom parables. None can explain what God’s kingdom is. Even Jesus tries to explain it through visible realties that are familiar to us. These give us a glimpse into what looks like God’s kingdom. The message is clear: each of us has a role to play in bringing God’s kingdom alive and real in our world, yet we are not the ones who direct the course or control its growth. But we need to do our part. Sharing the gift of our lives is important. Our vocation and mission as Christian believers should manifest the power of God’s kingdom. That “daily walk with God” in generosity is all that counts. Each day, we need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit- the helper Jesus has sent for us all. Ask the Holy Spirit each day to show how you can minister to your family, your neighborhood, your parish community. This life, with all its cares and concerns, is still a gift- a beautiful gift to be cherished caringly. Pray for others.

Lifting each of you in prayer.

Have a great summer!