The Bread of Life

Throughout this week the Mass readings from John's Gospel focus on Jesus as the bread of life. 

Scripture readings for today's Mass and subsequent days are here

I am reposting  this link to my reflections last year on the feast of Corpus Christi ( the Body of Christ.)

These are a few further thoughts......

The Eucharist, was described by the Second Vatican Council as “the summit and the source of the Christian life,”  the beating heart of Catholicism.  

I wholeheartedly agree with that and my belief in the gift of the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist is the central reason why I am a  Catholic. 

It never ceases to amaze me that Jesus is really present to us and among us,in the celebration of the Eucharist  in ways we seldom or ever are to each other in our lives or in our church. 

This is my body, broken for you this is my blood poured out for you.  Just before those words comes these : "let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I know that there are many places in our world where the body of Christ is broken again and again and it is only through the gifts of the Holy Spirit  that renewal will take place.

During Lent I read a book by Mark Patrick Hederman the Abbot of Glenstal Abbey titled Kissing The Dark and his writings continue to provide a rich source of reflection for me.

He is a man whose Catholic faith is not afraid to ask for major changes in the institutional church and in his Lenten talk this year he integrated his response to the question ‘Why I remain a Catholic today’ with the theme of his latest publication ‘Dancing with Dinosaurs’, which is to be published before the end of the month, and is now on my wish list .

I have included extracts of the central themes of his talk below where he says:

" the only thing that endures is Love and that all human institutions are subject to human failures. 

This includes the Catholic Church in its institutional aspects which is inextricably linked with its inner mystical life of relationship with God. The role of the Church is to deliver her children over to Love and then disappear.

The Catholic Church is more an organism than an organisation and renewal is a deed that we do rather than a manifesto that we proclaim. 

“The renewal of the Church must begin and end with the action which Christ performed at the institution of the Eucharist. ‘Do this in memory of me’”.  

Mark Patrick was hopeful that the Holy Spirit is gradually improving mechanisms which might change the Church to become more fully the transparent image of God it is meant to be serving.

He says :"The Church, (the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic) must, as an organisation, embody the Holy Spirit of Christ. Until it does so, it remains human, fallible and faulty, not yet having reached its full potential.

I believe in God and I believe that the Holy Spirit is gradually improving the mechanisms which might change the church from being the fragmented, self-opinionated, thick-headed, sexist, male-dominated organisation that cultural forces in our patriarchal world have allowed it to become. "

(This is strong stuff and I love it !!  Am I wrong in thinking  that if the same words came from a woman there might be trouble ahead ?!) 

Mark Patrick goes on to say : "I believe that it can and will eventually become the transparent image of the God it was meant to be serving. I shall work as hard as I can to remove such dross and clean these windows, so that all manner of thing may be well, and that all may be one, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

The full text of Fr. Hederman's talk can be downloaded here.

"Eucharist means to give thanks –  to teach us to give thanks for everything that exists in the universe, to change what may appear to be drudgery into gratitude;
where the ordinariness of our lives is transformed into the marvellous and water is changed into wine. 

Every fragment of the planet is potentially an element of the Eucharist and every day we should be celebrating a Mass of the universe."

Bless our hearts to hear in the breaking of bread the song of the universe. 
Father John Giuliani

No comments: