Tag Archives: Eucharist

Pope Francis offers Mass in the Cenacle

 The Mass was offered in the Cenacle, the site of the Last Supper, the Upper Room with the  Ordinaries of the Holy Land, those of the papal delegation, and those who safeguard the holy sights –the places of redemption. Can you image the profundity and supreme intimacy of this experience with the Lord! The Mass was offered in private due to the size of the room. It is here that Jesus instituted the sacraments of the Eucharist, the priesthood, Confirmation and Confession. Please pray with the Pope’s homily, and keep in mind this line: the events that happened at the Upper Room: the feet washing, the Last Supper, the Pentecost –represent service, sacrifice, conversion and the promise of a new life. The Upper Room is a particular sign of the Lord’s friendship. In the days before we celebrate the Ascension and Pentecost, this homily is an excellent reminder of what it means to a Christian.

Pope Francis in the cenacle 2014It is a great gift that the Lord has given us by bringing us together here in the Upper Room for the celebration of the Eucharist.  Here, where Jesus shared the Last Supper with the apostles; where, after his resurrection, he appeared in their midst; where the Holy Spirit descended with power upon Mary and the disciples. Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth.  From here she set out, with the broken bread in her hands, the wounds of Christ before her eyes, and the Spirit of love in her heart.

In the Upper Room, the risen Jesus, sent by the Father, bestowed upon the apostles his own Spirit and with this power he sent them forth to renew the face of the earth (cf. Ps 104:30).

To go forth, to set out, does not mean to forget. The Church, in her going forth, preserves the memory of what took place here; the Spirit, the Paraclete, reminds her of every word and every action, and reveals their true meaning.

The Upper Room speaks to us of service, of Jesus giving the disciples an example by washing their feet.  Washing one another’s feet signifies welcoming, accepting, loving and serving one another.  It means serving the poor, the sick and the outcast.

The Upper Room reminds us, through the Eucharist, of sacrifice.  In every Eucharistic celebration Jesus offers himself for us to the Father, so that we too can be united with him, offering to God our lives, our work, our joys and our sorrows… offering everything as a spiritual sacrifice.

The Upper Room reminds us of friendship.  “No longer do I call you servants – Jesus said to the Twelve – but I have called you friends” (Jn 15:15).  The Lord makes us his friends, he reveals God’s will to us and he gives us his very self.  This is the most beautiful part of being a Christian and, especially, of being a priest: becoming a friend of the Lord Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of the Teacher’s farewell and his promise to return to his friends: “When I go… I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn 14:3).  Jesus does not leave us, nor does he ever abandon us; he precedes us to the house of the Father, where he desires to bring us as well.

The Upper Room, however, also reminds us of pettiness, of curiosity – “Who is the traitor?” – and of betrayal.  We ourselves, and not just others, can reawaken those attitudes whenever we look at our brother or sister with contempt, whenever we judge them, whenever by our sins we betray Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of sharing, fraternity, harmony and peace among ourselves.  How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room!  How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent.  All the saints drew from this source; and hence the great river of the Church’s holiness continues to flow: from the Heart of Christ, from the Eucharist and from the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, the Upper Room reminds us of the birth of the new family, the Church, established by the risen Jesus; a family that has a Mother, the Virgin Mary.  Christian families belong to this great family, and in it they find the light and strength to press on and be renewed, amid the challenges and difficulties of life.  All God’s children, of every people and language, are invited and called to be part of this great family, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the one Father in heaven.

These horizons are opened up by the Upper Room, the horizons of the Risen Lord and his Church.

From here the Church goes forth, impelled by the life-giving breath of the Spirit.  Gathered in prayer with the Mother of Jesus, the Church lives in constant expectation of a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Send forth your Spirit, Lord, and renew the face of the earth (cf. Ps 104:30)!

Desiring the Holy Eucharist

I saw this photo on a friend’s FB page who indicated that it came from Fr John Zuhlsdorf (Fr Z). If you don’t read Fr Z’s blog, you ought to. As my friend Fr Chris said, “Would that all the faithful had such a desire and hunger for the Holy Eucharist!” Indeed. I wish I had the same intensity as Louis, the child in the shepherd’s arms.

That today on the Ordo of the Ordinary Form is the liturgical memorial of Saint John Mary Vianney (on the Ordo of the Extraordinary Form Vianney is venerated on August 8), the gift of this picture of Louis and Cardinal Burke opens a new door for my affection for the Eucharistic Lord. Perhaps you what you see emboldens your faith in the Eucharistic Presence.

The explanation of the image:

Louis [the child] was so sad that he couldn’t receive 1st Communion; he was in tears. When he said hi to Cardinal Burke, I explained to the Cardinal why he was sad and Louis just leaned into him and cried. His Eminence embraced him so lovingly and told him, “don’t worry, your first Communion will come soon enough!”

I love that Louis poured out his sorrow to him like the shepherd that Cardinal Burke is… so dear!

Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Peter Julian Eymard, pray for us.

Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it, Flannery O’Connor’s insight into eucharistic coherence

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One of the authors that I believe we have to look to for insight when it comes to sacramentality is the great southern woman, Flannery O’Connor. The great feast of Corpus Christi is this weekend. 

Here is a reflection for us on the Vigil of Corpus et Sanguis Christi:

“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater. (She just wrote that book, A Charmed Life). She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. 

We went at eight and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say. The people who took me were Robert Lowell and his now wife, Elizabeth Hardwick. Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them. 

Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the ‘most portable’ person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. 

I then said, in a very shaky voice, ‘Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.’ That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

Do you really want to recognize the Lord? Emmaus is certainty

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What was true and real for the Apostles and disciples of the Lord 2000 years ago IS TRUE AND REAL for us today, right now. At least that’s what I believe. The Emmaus event is not an abstract account but a true encounter with a clear direction and goal: knowing that the Lord Jesus, once crucified and now risen, is alive as He said. I find myself asking:

Can you say with the same degree of certainty as the disciples of Emmaus came to understand, that it is a true joy to walk with others in and outside the Church over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord? Do you really believe it is your vocation to recognize the Risen Lord in the breaking of the Bread, and to help others to the same? How do you account for the joy in knowing the Lord and accepting the reality of the Lord’s enduring Presence in the Eucharist? Are ready to enter into worship upon recognizing the Lord at the Supper of Emmaus?

The question becomes for the Christian: what do you really want from the Risen Lord?

The Eucharistic Theology of Pope Francis: Covenant and holiness for service and life

Breaking of the bread. Español: Fracción del p...

As the “new man” on the block I am trying to figure what the new Roman Pontiff’s taught prior to his move to Rome. In 2008, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio now Pope Francis, was invited to give a teaching on the Holy Eucharist to International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec City, Canada. The title of his talk was “The Eucharist: Gift of God for the Life of the World.”

I would say that his controlling idea is based on the Aparecida document where it is written, “The Eucharist is the vital center of the universe, able to satisfy our hunger for life and happiness. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood in this happy banquet participates in eternal life, and thus our daily existence is transformed into an extension of the Mass.” He then develops the theme of the Eucharist as gift and mission in light of the Church’s enduring self-understanding as covenant. He appeals to tradition, some saints and the Mother of God to demonstrate that evangelization is about Eucharistic Presence, sacrifice, and communion. He argues in the key of communio theology.

Much of what we’ve heard in the last two weeks in his papal addresses and homilies given here.

The text: Bergoglio Eucharist Gift of God for the Life of the World.pdf

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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