Browsing Pastor's Notes

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

For the last few weeks, my homilies have focused around different aspects of Jesus’ Travel Narrative, as He “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 8:51) and how that provides an added lens by which to understand His teachings and actions in chapters 10-19 of Luke. Another happening in the Church in recent weeks has been the start of the Eucharistic Renewal by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). This was begun on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi – the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ on 19 June 2022. The Renewal is meant to be a concerted effort by the Church to stir up greater knowledge, understanding, and love of Christ Truly Present in the Eucharist.

I see these two themes dovetailing together. For Jesus’ Journey to the Jerusalem was His purposeful and intentional Journey to the Last Supper and the Cross – to events that in salvation are in fact united and extensions of one another. They are aspects of the great Paschal Mystery – Jesus’ suffering, death, and Resurrection for our salvation & redemption. The meal of the Last Supper Passover is transformed to remember, relive, and re-present the Sacrifice on the Cross. As we come to share the Sacred Meal we are necessarily configured to Christ to share His Saving Sacrifice.

One of the great spokespersons for the Eucharistic Renewal is Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the Diocese of Crookston. He is the chair of the USCCB subcommittee directing the Eucharistic Renewal. Here are some of his thoughts on the Saving Sacrifice of the Eucharist.

“To my mind [Bishop Cozzens], this sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist is very much neglected in our catechesis, perhaps even more neglected than the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence. Yet this is the fullness of what it means to live a Eucharistic life! The Eucharist wants to teach us to make our own lives a gift. We need to catechize people about this aspect of the Eucharist in order that they might fully live their Christian lives.

This aspect of the Eucharist reveals to us the whole purpose of our lives, why we were created in God’s image. St. John Paul II loved to quote the Second Vatican Council, which taught: “Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself” (GS 24). None of us will be happy unless we learn to make a gift of ourselves. Isn’t this what Jesus taught when he said, “This is my Body given up for you”? St. John Paul II’s whole Theology of the Body is rooted here. So is St. Paul’s theology of living in Christ: “He died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15); “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:19–20).

The Eucharist is more than just an encounter with love. It is that; it is the most profound encounter with love possible in this life. But the Eucharist is more than just receiving a gift. We are meant to be transformed by this gift. Pope Benedict XVI writes in his encyclical on love, “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving the incarnate Logos, we enter into the very dynamic of his self-giving” (DCE 13). The Eucharist wants to change us into lovers in a twofold movement: Jesus comes to us to encounter us in His love, then this love transforms us.

At the heart of the Eucharist are the words of Jesus: “This is my body given up for you”; “This is my blood poured out for you.” These words cannot be understood independent of Jesus’ death on the Cross. They are intimately united with his death—they reveal its meaning. Similarly, these words without His death would be empty. The Crucifixion would be a mere execution. However, because of His death they express a real gift of Himself. Through the words of consecration His death lives on and gives life to all time.”


+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +

Holy Family, Saintly Father, Blessed Mother, Divine Son, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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