As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), the Church calls our attention to this central mystery of our Faith: The Sacrament wherein the entire Paschal Mystery, whole and entire, is made truly present in our midst, with all of Its redemptive, sanctifying, and vivifying power. This is a magnum mysterium – a Great Mystery – and our hearts and minds can scarcely contain even a fragment of its meaning. We can only approach in Faith, but if we approach in Faith we truly Feast upon Its riches in our lives. We hear at Mass today:
“Nourishing your faithful by this Sacred Mystery, You make them holy, so that the human race, bounded by one world, may be enlightened by one faith and united by one bond of charity. And so, we approach the table of this wondrous Sacrament, so that, bathed in the sweetness of Your grace, we may pass over to the heavenly realities here foreshadowed” (from the Preface of the Most Holy Eucharist).
Holiness, communion of belief, communion of love, and a foretaste of Heaven: these are gifts we receive through faithful, worthy, reverent, devout, and true reception of the Most Holy Eucharist. This Sacrament has the power to transform our souls and our whole Church, and ultimately the whole world – if we let It. Like all gifts from God, they are powerful in themselves, but the power they have in our individual lives hinges in some way upon our openness and receptivity – and this openness and receptivity come through deeper and more abiding conversion of our whole lives to the Will of God. The bishops of the United States are leading us in a National Eucharistic Revival, and our own archdiocese has positioned a kind of Eucharistic Revival at the Heart of the Beacons of Light initiative. Archbishop Schnurr shared a letter with the faithful of the Archdiocese on the occasion of this solemnity, and in the letter he reminds us that “Beacons of Light will only be successful under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and only if our parishes are communities of faith truly centered on our Eucharistic Lord.” As we face the various challenges and – if we are honest – frustrations of navigating Beacons of Light, one thing must be foremost in our minds: at the end of the day, it is not a particular church building, it is not a particular set of persons, it is not a particular community that defines us as Catholics. Rather, it is our communion in the one Bread and one Chalice, the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, that defines and unites us as Catholics. Jesus – this Jesus, Whom we find and Who remains present always in the Eucharist; this Jesus, Who communicates Himself in a unique and total way in the Catholic Church; this Jesus, Whose voice calls His sheep into the communion of the one fold – is why we are Catholic. We are Catholic because, as St. Peter said after the Lord taught His disciples about the mystery of the Eucharist, Jesus alone has the words of life. If we find this Word truly living in the Catholic Church – a truth of which the Lord Himself assures us – then to whom else should we go? (cf. John 6:68).
We have our own Eucharistic Revival going on in our parish family, too, and it is exciting to see. Parishioners’ faith and belief in the True Presence of Jesus is coming alive – they’ve said so themselves; today, we are giving powerful, public witness in the streets of Saint Henry to this faith during our Eucharistic Procession, and through this act of faith we pray that God may spark faith back to life or set timid faith ablaze in the souls of our many friends, family members, and neighbors – right here in our own communities – who have walked away from this Sacrament, or who simply don’t realize Its power and importance for their lives. And, of course, we are preparing to offer nearly endless worship and affection to the Lord in the Eucharist at Saint Wendelin, a true testimony to our Faith in the Blessed Sacrament. If you have not yet committed to spending an hour with Jesus in the Eucharist, please do. You won’t regret it, and as a rule the Lord is never outdone in generosity – whatever you give Him, He pays dividends in return. Archbishop Schnurr, with his brother bishops, encourages us to offer “greater Eucharistic devotion”, and this adoration chapel at Saint Wendelin is in some way our response to that plea. It’s a bold one, and we join our prayer to his, as “We ask our Lord in a special way that our celebrations of the Eucharist” – and our devout adoration of Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament – “truly foster unity, not only in our Families of Parishes, but across our entire archdiocese.” If we rally around the Eucharist, if each of us sets the Lord at the center of our hearts, and if we seek to conform our lives more and more to this great Mystery, we will become the living, radiant Catholics we are called to be. May God bless you in the week ahead and may Mother Mary lead you more deeply into the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus. I remain,
Affectionately Yours in Christ,