November 29, 2023

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This was a reflection on the Eucharist given to the Saint Louis Chapter of the Lay Dominicans on Sunday, March 5, 2023. John 6, 1 Corinthians 12, and Matthew 25 are used to connect the conversion that happens at Mass and the witness we see in serving the least of the brothers and sisters.
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Reflection on the Eucharist

This was a reflection given to the Saint Louis Chapter of the Lay Dominicans on Sunday, March 5, 2023. The topic was the Eucharist, the Body of Christ. Using John 6, there is a movement from the multiplying of the loaves to Jesus as the bread of life, to the Eucharist itself, when disciples are told unless the eat the flesh (in the Greek sarx) of the Son of Man and drink his blood, they have no life in them.

Every time we celebrate Mass, then, it is the case that we participate in the divine liturgy in heaven. Jesus gives himself to us at Mass, body and blood, soul and divinity. But the gift is a subject, a person, not an object. That means that the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist is for the very purpose of so changing us at Mass that we can then witness to the power of Christ’s love in the world.

There must, then, be a connection between seeing Jesus at Mass in the Eucharist and see Jesus in the least of his brothers and sisters. So if John 6 is a movement into deeper and more profound understanding of Jesus as the Bread of life, then the second “act” is to move from 1 Corinthians 12, which declares the believers of Jesus, the Church, to be the body (soma in Greek) of Christ, members of a community bound together by love.

We are in fact, then, connected to each other. Using the words of Mother Teresa, which connect our unhappiness to the forgetting we belong to each other, it becomes clear that there is a profound connection between our worship at Mass, which leads to our conversion, and the recognition of Christ in the poor which leads to our conversion to become more like Christ. The Spirit has poured out upon us many gifts, and that we are a community of believers, the Body of Christ, to Matthew 25, where our celebration of Mass so changes us that we see Christ in the Eucharist and in the least of his brothers and sisters.

The not so complete outline used today:

  1. Our plan for the day
    1. What is the Eucharist?
      1. Eucharist is subject, not object
    2. What is the Eucharist for?
      1. To love God more, to love neighbor more
    3. Who should I be if I believe in the Eucharist?
      1. The Eucharist and Lay Dominicans
  2. What is the Eucharist?
    1. CCC 1324.

1324 The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” Lumen Gentium 11 

“The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”135

The other sacraments, as well as with every ministry of the Church and every work of the apostolate, are tied together with the Eucharist and are directed toward it.(15) The Most Blessed Eucharist contains the entire spiritual boon of the Church,(16) that is, Christ himself, our Pasch and Living Bread, by the action of the Holy Spirit through his very flesh vital and vitalizing, giving life to men who are thus invited and encouraged to offer themselves, their labors and all created things, together with him. In this light, the Eucharist shows itself as the source and the apex of the whole work of preaching the Gospel. Those under instruction are introduced by stages to a sharing in the Eucharist, and the faithful, already marked with the seal of Baptism and Confirmation, are through the reception of the Eucharist fully joined to the Body of Christ.

From <https://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651207_presbyterorum-ordinis_en.html>

From <https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3X.HTM>

b.  The Eucharist is first and foremost connected to the liturgy, the Divine Mass.

What is the Mass –

1326 Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.

1327 In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.”

From <https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3X.HTM#-1KX>

c. Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity

John 6:

3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.

4 The Jewish feast of Passover was near.

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/6>

The Jewish feast of Passover was near.b

5* When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip,c “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/6>

Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.

27Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life,* which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”l

28So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”

29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/6>

* Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.q

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/6>

52The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?”

53Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.

54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/6>

Flesh = Sarx

1336 The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”158 The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. “Will you also go away?”:159 The Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has “the words of eternal life”160 and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.

From <https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3Z.HTM>

1334 In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt; the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel that it lives by the bread of the Word of God;154 their daily bread is the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God’s faithfulness to his promises.

The “cup of blessing”155 at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup.

From <https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3Z.HTM>

Body = Soma

We are the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12

27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.i

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1corinthians/12>

The Body has many gifts

18 But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1corinthians/12>

Connection to the Eucharist:

The Washing of the Disciples’ Feet.*

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/13>

So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?

13You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.h

14If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.

15I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.i

16Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger* greater than the one who sent him.j

17If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.

From <https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/13>

What does this mean? If Jesus can lower himself, give himself completely for our sins, so that we may live, so too must we do so for each other.


Matthew 25

  1. The Eucharist and Lay Dominicans
    1. O Sacred Banquet
      1. Prayer of Saint Thomas Aquinas for Corpus Christi
      2. “O Sacred Banquet”
      3. “Christ is Received as Food”
      4. “The memory of His Passion is recalled”
      5. “The Soul is filled with grace”
      6. “A Pledge of the life to come is given to us”
      7. Mass is all ==> Divine Office ==> Which is why we say this prayer. 
  2. The Mass and Adoration

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