From the Desk of Fr. Barry
With the Easter Season having come to an end, it always leaves me feeling a bit discouraged. Discouraged not by what has happened, but because we are back to the reality of life as we know it, Ordinary time. What the Easter Season did was build us up on all the gifts that Jesus’ short ministry gave and showed us. It allowed us to see and feel (if we allowed it) that we are a part of all that ridiculing, all that suffering, all the deceitfulness of those who condemned Jesus, and yet, he went through his passion whole heartedly for each of us anyway and opened the gates of eternity to us! That pure love of God that shines forth through any tragedy, pandemic, death or life situation. That promise that he will never abandon us and be with us for all times.
And that is ever so pronounced as we celebrate The Holy Body and Blood of Christ on this Feast of the Church. A time that allows us to look beyond the Resurrection and Ascension and to see that the nourishment Jesus always talked about is still with us today and every day. The sacrifice of himself does not mean the separation of himself to us. Rather, it is that total giving of himself in ways we can not even understand wholly.
As a child I always knew without a doubt that I was receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Mass. Then as I grew older, well into my 20’s, I started to doubt that teaching. I started to ask questions on why are we the only Church that sees it this way? Why do we have to receive in a Church when Jesus is all around us? And through much searching, both in other faith denominations and in prayer, the light bulb went on. We are given this precious gift each and every day because we need it. We need that cleansing, that purification of Jesus within us to get through another week. To endure and mend broken relationships. To lift us up when so many things are bringing us down. To ensure we know that it was all done for us, and Christ wants us to share in that joy.
With a deep desire to answer my questions, I came across an article describing a miracle. In the city of Lanciano, Italy, then known as Anxanum, some time in the 700s, a Basilian hieromonk was assigned to celebrate Mass at the monastery of St. Longinus. Celebrating in the Roman Rite and using unleavened bread, the monk had doubts about the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. During the Mass, when he said the Words of Consecration; "This is my body. This is my blood", the priest saw the bread change into living flesh and the wine change into blood which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size. The miracle was contemporaneously investigated and confirmed by the Church.
As I read more and more, I found that this has been happening all over the world; Italy, Venezuela, Chile, Germany, France, Mexico, Argentina, even in Salt Lake City in 2015 (which is still under investigation by the Vatican). In total, The Vatican has investigated and approved sixty-five miracles of this nature.
Every time the test is done on the Eucharist, it has come back the same. O Negative (the universal donor), heart muscle, under severe distress. This is no coincidence. Our Lord continues to meet us where we are at. Giving us miracles through signs we can understand. My friends, as we start to come back into our Church, we come back with that yearning for the precious Body and Blood of Christ that we have missed so much. Allow it to transform you. Allow it to bring about newness of life, of purpose. Allow it to transform you as Christ himself transforms!
A gentle reminder. We have been allowed to receive in the hand for some time now. When we received/receive on the tongue it is just that, receiving. With the addition of being able to “touch” the precious Body, we still “receive” Jesus. This is why we cup our hands together, one under the other, to “receive” and not to “take” Jesus. By doing so we create our own tabernacle, a place worthy for Jesus to be placed.
Have a blessed week ahead, and mark your calendars for AUGUST 9 ! From 11:30 - 3 we will have an OPEN HOUSE at the new offices/rectory. All are invited! More details to come.
See you at Mass, Your brother in Christ,