Weekly Reflections

Reflection for June 7, 2015

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Simple bread and wine seal God's covenant with us through Jesus

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by Sister Laura Zelten

Today's readings have two threads running through them: blood and covenant. The first reading is a dramatic scene from Mount Sinai. In the aftermath of the exodus, God summoned the people into a covenant relationship: He would be their God, and they His people. Being in God's special protection, Israel was called through the commandments to proclaim God's holiness to the nations (Lev 19:2). This covenant relationship was sealed with the blood from sacrificial animals -- "the blood of the covenant" -- symbolic of the force and energy of life. Half of the blood was sprinkled on the altar representing God's presence, and half on the people. God and Israel were united and committed to one another.

In Mark's version of the Last Supper Jesus breaks bread and pours out wine -- actions of his self-giving love on the cross -- and offers them to his friends as his Body and Blood. Jesus calls it "my blood of the covenant," echoing the words of Moses. Through Christ's loving self-gift, God invites all of us into a special relationship with Him, into "a new covenant." We are to bear witness to God's holiness and love. As the end of today's responsorial psalm suggests, we are to be a Eucharistic people in the presence of all.

  • Does my life reflect the joy of knowing and receiving the gift of God's love poured forth through Jesus' offering of his Body and Blood?
  • Do I appreciate that the Eucharist makes me part of a community, the very body of Christ?
  • Do I bring this gift to others?

Today is a wondrous feast. Let us celebrate it with joy and thanksgiving (the meaning of the word "Eucharist"). And let us share with others the amazing gift we receive every time we gather to hear God's Word and come to the Lord's Table.

 

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Reflection for June 22, 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What did Jesus mean by 'eat' and 'drink' of the Son of Man?

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by Sister Madonna Swintkoske

Sunday's Gospel (John 6:51-58) is a very difficult passage for many. Jesus says, "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."  What does this mean?  I read an explanation of a way to think of this.

In a bookcase a woman had a book she never read. If it remains unread the book is external to her. One day she takes the book and reads it. She is thrilled and fascinated and moved.  The words remain in her memory. Now when she wants to she can take that wonder out from inside herself, think about it and feed her mind and heart upon it.

So it is with Jesus. As long as he remains a figure in a book, he is external to us. When he told us to eat his flesh and blood, he was telling us to feed our hearts and souls and minds on him and to revitalize our life with his life until we are filled with the life of God. Then we will abide in God and God will abide in us. When we receive Christ in the Eucharist we are empowered to seek Christ in each other and share God's love with others.

What a beautiful feast we celebrate today. Years ago we received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. We ask ourselves today, "Has our understanding of what this means changed over the years?"

 

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Reflection for Aug. 19, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Real Presence of Jesus in Eucharist is source of faith

Cholewinski_Elise_Sr_2012-100pxby Sister Elise Cholewinski

In our parish we have a summer school program for our high school students.  Recently I finished teaching a course on world religions.  The question I kept asking the students as we completed our study of each of the major religions was, "Knowing what you now know, why would you choose to be a Catholic?"  Then I would remind them that a great spiritual writer, G.K. Chesterton, says in his book, "The Everlasting Man," that religion has to be real.

During the past few weeks we have been listening to Jesus' Bread of Life discourse.  In the first part of that discourse He invites us to believe in Him as the One sent from the Father.  We are to come to Him not only for what He does, but especially for Who He is, the very substance, meaning, nourishment of our lives.  If we believe He is real, then we know why we are Christian.

In this Sunday's Gospel we are at the heart of what it means to be Catholic.  Jesus speaks about His flesh as real food and His blood as real drink.  Eating and drinking are the most intimate things we do; what we receive actually becomes part of who we are.  If we believe in Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist, then we know why we are Catholic.

Religion is about what is real.  Is Jesus a real living Person, the Son of God, or is He simply a great prophet from the past?  Is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist His real Body and Blood, or a symbol or representation?   Catholicism is about what is real.  Let us believe.  Let us enjoy the intimacy.  Let us treasure the Gift.

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