Note from the Pastor's Desk

Having celebrated four consecutive weeks of First Communions, we’re well primed for this week’s Feast of Corpus Christi, that is, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Many of us have had the privilege of seeing the joy of our young parishioners receiving the Eucharist for the first time.  One young girl, every time she sees me, has asked to receive communion, even if she’s just finished Mass.  The delight of these children could help us reflect more deeply into the gift of the Eucharist.

 The Church teaches plainly that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.”  Rather than being a teaching from on high, this week we have the opportunity to think and pray about what the Eucharist means to each of us. 

 I experience the Eucharist as the sacrament of the Lord’s love.  Christ asks us to “do this in memory of me.”  We are remembering that the Lord gave his life for us.  We are remembering and coming to know more deeply, that God’s love for each of us knows no bounds.  In our lives we sometimes have periods of struggle.  Our world sometimes places value on people by their level of success or achievement.  And yet our God places value in such a different way.  It doesn’t matter if we’re saints or sinners; it doesn’t matter if we’re employed or unemployed; it doesn’t matter if we’re old or young, God’s gift of a personal love is simply offered and given.

 During the prayer of consecration I’m often tempted by thoughts of my sinfulness, by thoughts that I’m utterly unworthy to receive.  When these thoughts come, I try and push them to the side.  What’s of central importance is not my, or anyone’s, unworthiness.  In the Eucharist, when God says ‘I love you’ we don’t need to think about the words or gain clarity of our feelings.  Rather, we simply say ‘Amen,’ that is, ‘I love you too.’ 

 It’s hard for us to believe, or to accept, but the gift of the Father’s love is freely given.  Our whole Christian life should not be centered on doing the right things.  Instead, we should labour hard, because it’s not easy, to accept the offer of the love of God. 

 When I was first ordained I used to view the celebration of the Eucharist as something for me.  Since coming to Lourdes however, this has changed.  When the Lord’s Body is elevated I look and I see all of you who have come out of a profound desire to receive this gift.  My consolation is your faith.  And together we receive the gift of the Lord’s love, together we build a community that is love because we are a Eucharistic people.  So when we come for communion let us remember the words of St. Augustine, “Receive what you are,” receive and accept that you are the beloved of God, thus we are the love of God.

 

God Bless and Take Care,   Fr. John


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