June 06, 2021 – Eucharistic Devotion

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Readings || Lecturas

Recording (8:00 a.m. Mass)

Video (5:00 p.m. Mass)

Preached at Assumption Parish in Bellingham, WA

English (Outline)

One of the reasons that children are so wonderful is that they have very active imaginations. I will often speak with children on our playground who have created their own world and who describe to me how a bush is a castle or a stick is a magic wand. When I am playing with children in my own family, I will sometimes try to enter their world and imagine along with them. These fantasies are rich and exciting, but they only last as long as the children and I agree that they last. Once someone breaks the fantasy, once someone refers to the bush as a bush and not a castle, the magic is lost and the fantasy is gone.

Well, when Jesus takes some bread and says, “This is my body” and takes some wine and says “This is my blood,” it looks very similar to a child describing an imaginary world. Because, if we are honest, that bread still looks like bread and that wine still looks like wine, just like the bush still looks like a bush and the castle still looks like a castle. The only difference is that, because Jesus is God, we have to take him seriously – we have to believe what he says and trust that the bread is actually his body and the blood is actually his blood, and that none of this is a fantasy.

But because the bread still looks like bread and the wine still looks like wine, we have to act around it the same way we would act around a child’s fantasy. We can only maintain belief in the Eucharist if we all act and speak in such a way that we do not treat the bread like bread or the wine like wine. We have to treat them as we believe them to be – the body and blood of Jesus. If we do not, if we treat them simply like bread and wine, we will lose our belief in the reality of the Eucharist, as polls tell us a majority of Catholics have. Unless we treat the host as though it is Jesus, we will lose our belief that it is actually Jesus.

Thankfully, our faith realizes this and many, many actions and devotions have grown up over the centuries to help us treat the Eucharist with the respect that it deserves, so that we can constantly remind ourselves that what we are looking it is not merely bread.

  • Current
    • Genuflection
    • Purification of the vessels
    • Exposition
    • Eucharistic processions
    • Dignified reception
    • Kneeling during Mass
  • Fading
    • Silence in Church
    • Fingers together
    • Visits to the Blessed Sacrament

Español

El problema con la Eucaristía es que parece pan normal y vino normal. Y si no tenemos cuidado, tendremos la tentación de tratarlo como pan normal y vino normal. Pero no lo es. Es el cuerpo, la sangre, el alma y la divinidad de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Cuando Jesús dijo: “Este es mi cuerpo” y “Esta es mi sangre”, le creemos y lo tomamos en serio.

Así que tenemos que recordarnos constantemente que lo que estamos mirando no es simplemente pan y no simplemente vino, sino la presencia física y real de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Como católicos, nos recordamos la importancia suprema de la presencia real a través de las devociones, pequeñas acciones que realizamos en torno al Santísimo para tratar de tratarla con el respeto que merece el cuerpo del Señor. Hoy me gustaría hablar sobre algunas de estas devociones.

Primero, tenemos las muchas formas en que saludamos a Jesús. Hay en muchas ciudades y países la devoción de hacer visitas al Santísimo Sacramento. En algunos lugares, no se limita a caminar o conducir por una iglesia católica. Cada vez que pasas por una iglesia católica, entras en esa iglesia para saludar a Jesús en el Santísimo. En este país eso no es tan práctico, pero algunas personas pueden optar por venir a la iglesia para saludar a Jesús antes o después del trabajo, si trabajan cerca de la iglesia. Aquí en Assumption, nuestra gente puede entrar a la iglesia las veinticuatro horas del día, siempre que tenga el código de la puerta. Cualquier feligrés puede llamar a la oficina y solicitar el código de la puerta, para que puedan visitar a Jesús cuando lo deseen. No podemos, debido a Coronavirus, usar la capilla del tabernáculo, pero al menos entrar a la iglesia es un comienzo. Como mínimo, debemos hacer la señal de la cruz cada vez que pasamos por una iglesia católica, para recordarnos que Jesús está físicamente presente en la Eucaristía de esa iglesia. También hago la señal de la cruz cada vez que paso por una iglesia o cuando paso por la capilla del tabernáculo. No quiero olvidar nunca que Jesús está físicamente presente en este edificio y en esa capilla.

En segundo lugar, están las muchas cosas que hacemos en el altar. Por ejemplo, me arrodillo ante la Eucaristía tres veces durante la Misa: después de la consagración del pan, después de la consagración del vino y justo antes de recibir la comunión. Estos son los momentos más íntimos que tengo con la Eucaristía. Inmediatamente después de las consagraciones, estoy tocando y sosteniendo el cuerpo y la sangre de Jesús, y justo antes de la comunión, me estoy preparando para recibir a Jesús en mí. Quiero reconocer y recordarme a mí mismo que es Jesús, no solo pan, a quien estoy tocando y recibiendo. También notará que mantengo los dedos juntos después de la consagración. Esto es para que si tengo migajas en mis manos, que son partículas del cuerpo de Cristo, esas migajas queden atrapadas en mis dedos hasta que las pueda lavar con agua sobre el cáliz. Esto solía ser requerido por la Iglesia, pero ya no. Lo guardo como una devoción personal, para que pueda recordar que acabo de tocar a Jesús y todavía está ante mí en el altar.

¿Y qué hace la gente durante la misa? Por supuesto, los arrodillados durante la consagración y justo antes de recibir la comunión, tal como lo hace el sacerdote. Me encanta que la comunidad hispana haya conservado la devoción de decir en voz baja “Mi Señor y mi Dios” cuando el sacerdote muestra la hostia consagrada y el cáliz al pueblo. También me encanta que tantos hispanos todavía reciban la comunión en la lengua. Durante el Coronavirus no podemos hacerlo, y sé que esto ha sido muy duro y muy triste para muchos de nosotros, pero el hecho de que el deseo permanezca es una buena señal. Queremos respetar la Eucaristía, no queremos tener migajas de la Eucaristía en nuestras manos. Por ahora, tenemos que quitarnos las migajas de las manos, pero rezo por un día en el que podamos volver a recibir al Santísimo en la lengua.

La devoción final que creo que es tan importante es la exposición del Santísimo. Por supuesto, rezar con el Santísimo cuando está en el sagrario y rezar con el Santísimo cuando está en custodia es lo mismo, porque es el mismo Jesús. Y, sin embargo, todavía hay algo especial en la custodia, cuando podemos contemplar el Santísimo. Creo que esto se debe a que tenemos que afrontar el hecho de que la Eucaristía todavía parece pan. Si pusiéramos un pedazo de pan en un objeto de oro y lo adoramos como a Dios, seríamos unos idólatras horribles. Seríamos peores que los que adoraban al becerro de oro. Pero si ese pedazo de pan es realmente Jesús, entonces tenemos que adorarlo como adoramos a Dios, con todo nuestro corazón, alma, mente y fuerza. La exposición nos obliga a admitir, en la fe, que el Santísimo es la presencia real de Jesús. La exposición nos obliga a darnos cuenta de que Dios nos ama a nosotros, a su pueblo, y desea estar con nosotros en medio de nosotros. Tenemos exposición todas las semanas en Assumption, desde las ocho a.m. del miércoles hasta las siete a.m. del jueves. Simplemente necesita llamar a la oficina y obtener el código de la puerta.

Amigos míos, si se criaron en otro país, especialmente en un país católico, estoy seguro de que se les dieron muchas devociones diferentes a la Eucaristía y formas de rezar con la Eucaristía. Por favor, por favor, mantengan vivas estas devociones aquí en los Estados Unidos y en sus familias. La mayoría de los católicos de este país ya no cree que Jesús esté realmente presente en la Eucaristía. Tenemos que cambiar eso. Y podemos cambiar eso visitando a Jesús, acercándonos a Jesús con reverencia durante la Misa y orando con Jesús en exposición. Tus devociones salvarán nuestra Iglesia y nuestro país. Tus devociones son la prueba de que Dios quiere estar con su pueblo y que Dios está con su pueblo, de verdad, de hecho, de verdad, en el Santísimo Sacramento.

Español (Original English Text)

The problem with the Eucharist is that is looks like normal bread and normal wine. And if we are not careful, we will be tempted to treat it like normal bread and normal wine. But it is not. It is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood” we believe him and we take him seriously.

So we have to remind ourselves constantly that what we are looking at is not merely bread and not merely wine, but is the physical, actual presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we remind ourselves of the supreme importance of the real presence through devotions – little actions that we take around the Eucharist to try to treat it with the respect that the body of the Lord deserves. I would like to talk about a few of these devotions today.

First, we have the many ways that we greet Jesus. There are in many cities and countries the devotion of making visits to the Blessed Sacrament. In some places, you do not just walk by or drive by a Catholic Church. Whenever you pass a Catholic Church, you enter into that church to say hello to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In this country that is not quite as practical, but some people may choose to come into the church to say hello to Jesus before of after work, if they work near the church. Here at Assumption, our people can enter into the church 24 hours each day, as long as they have the door code. Any parishioner can call the office and request the door code, so that they can visit Jesus whenever they would like. We cannot, because of COVID, use the tabernacle chapel, but at least entering the church is a start. At minimum, we should make the sign of the cross every time we pass by a Catholic church, in order to remind ourselves that Jesus is physically present in the Eucharist in that church. I also make the sign of the cross whenever I drive past a church or whenever I walk past the tabernacle chapel. I never want to forget that Jesus is physically present in this building and in that chapel.

Second, there are the many things that we do at the altar. For example, I genuflect to the Eucharist three times during the Mass: after the consecration of the bread, after the consecration of the wine, and right before I receive communion. These are the most intimate times I have with the Eucharist. Right after the consecrations, I am touch and holding the body and blood of Jesus, and right before communion, I am preparing to receive Jesus into myself. I want to acknowledge and remind myself that it is Jesus, not just bread, that I am touching and receiving. You will also notice that I keep my fingers together after the consecration. This is so that if I have any crumbs on my hands, which are particles of the body of Christ, those crumbs remain trapped in my fingers until I can wash them with water over the chalice. This used to be required by the Church, but not anymore. I keep is as a personal devotion, so that I can remember that I have just touched Jesus and he is still before me on the altar.

And what do the people do during Mass? Of course, the kneel during the consecration and right before they receive communion, just like the priest does. I love that the Hispanic community has retained the devotion of saying quietly under their breath “My Lord and my God” when the priest shows the consecrated host and chalice to the people. I also love that so many Hispanics still receive communion on the tongue. During Coronavirus we cannot do it, and I know this has been very hard and very sad for many of us, but the fact that the desire remains is a good sign. We want to respect the Eucharist, we do not want to have any crumbs of the Eucharist on our hands. For now, we have to pick the crumbs off of our hands, but I pray for a day when we can return to receiving the Eucharist on the tongue.

The final devotion that I think is so important is exposition of the blessed sacrament. Of course, praying with the Eucharist when it is in the tabernacle and praying with the Eucharist when it is in a monstrance is the same, because it is the same Jesus. And yet, there is still something special about the monstrance, when we can look upon the Most Host Sacrament. I think this is because we have to confront the fact that the Eucharist still looks like bread. If we were to put a piece of bread in a gold object and worship it like God, we would be horrible idolators. We would be worse than those who worshipped the golden calf. But if that piece of bread is actually Jesus, then we have to worship it like we worship God, with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength. Exposition forces us to admit, in faith, that the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus. Exposition forces us to realize that God loves us, his people, and he desires to be with us in our midst. We have exposition every week at Assumption, from 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday until 7:00 a.m. on Thursday. You simply need to call the office and get the door code.

My friends, if you were raised in another country, especially a Catholic country, I am sure you were given many different devotions to the Eucharist and ways to pray with the Eucharist. Please, please, please keep these devotions alive here in the United States and in your families. A majority of Catholics in this country no longer believe that Jesus is actually present in the Eucharist. We have to change that. And we can change that by visiting Jesus, by approached Jesus with reverence during the Mass, and by praying with Jesus in exposition. Your devotions will save our Church and our country. Your devotions are the proof that God wants to be with his people and that God is with his people, truly, actually, really, in the Blessed Sacraments.

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Found at: You must live the faith to share it well, Pope Francis says | Angelus News

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