-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at Sat 4:00, Sun 11am, and 6pm(during the picnic
Sharing, a Meal!
There really is supposed to be a comma in the title of this blog entry. By inserting the comma after "sharing" we can see that the notion of meal defines or conditions or interprets the act of sharing. We are invited and challenged as the disciples of Jesus to recognize that the importance of a meal is not so much the content or "what" is being shared, in this case bread, and much more that "sharing" itself is the mode of our salvation.
In these five Sunday sermons on Saint John's bread of life discourse we at St. Albert are reflecting on various aspects of the holy Eucharist. Last week we began with the "gathering or gathered assembly" and reflected upon the real presence of Jesus in the assembly and members of the Body of Christ. This weeks theme or subject is "table fellowship". As with the real presence of Jesus in the assembly/Body of Christ gathered, the context of the Eucharistic celebration as "table fellowship" is not our customary understanding or our first interpretation.
Most Catholics of a pre--Vatican II formation, are focused on the context of the Eucharistic liturgy as sacrifice: the sacrifice of the mass. Since the second Vatican Council, however, we have been encouraged to recognize the equally valid context of the celebration of the mass as a meal, table fellowship. The connection to Passover and the last supper, both of which are ritual meals, is the source of this expanded understanding. The fact that Jesus's sacrifice on the cross is communicated to the church as bread "blessed, broken and shared"(a meal) is a fuller understanding of what it means to live a self sacrificing life.
So, like the Jews in the Gospel text, Catholics today can be more focused on the bread that we eat-having our fill of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and fail to recognize that it is the self sacrificing sharing of God's life that the Eucharist makes really present- its a meal. Another word for fellowship is participation, sharing, "agape" -the love of God.
Can we benefit from expanding our understanding of the mass to include table fellowship or the self sacrificing sharing that Jesus communicates to the church in the form of bread and wine? He is the lamb who was slain on the altar of the cross for our salvation and our sins forgiven by the outpouring of his blood. The sacrifice of the mass. However, Jesus chose to make that sacrifice perpetually present to and in the church, his body, by a meal shared in the company of his disciples the Body of Christ - the gathered assembly.
Are we at church, then, with the obligation to witness an unbloodied sacrifice and to receive the miraculous bread from heaven only? Or are we called to be the Church, the Body of Christ present and sharing the self-sacrificing meal of love which is God himself? It has to be both!
Get into the ring! How this works...
This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily idea...my main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!