Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Take it; this is my body."

Catholic Living Today with
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ
(CorpusChristiB) Issue Date: June 14, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Do you believe the Real Presence in the Eucharist?
FEATURED BLOG: New Life in Christ: What it looks like, what it demands.
RECONCILIATION NEWS: Chinese Christians call for forgiveness for Tiananmen
PASTORAL HISPANA: Beber su Sangre y Comer su Cuerpo es un Milagro de Amor

Dear Friends, This Sunday is Corpus Christi Sunday and the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. If there is any one Catholic doctrine that people have choked on over the centuries, it has to be transubstantiation – the teaching that, during the Mass, bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Our Discussion Questions can help guide you through your bible study sessions this Sunday with your family, friends of church group.

"THIS IS MY BODY." Catholics don’t just go to church on Sunday like other Christians. We go to Mass. Some regard it as a sacrifice and others as a fellowship meal and still others as “the real presence.” So what is it, really? Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains. And it is one truth then, Fr. John Foley, S. J. says, that prompts many un-Catechized to offer this indelicate Question: "Why are you eating someone’s body and drinking his blood?"

The Eucharist, is not just one of the seven Sacraments. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B. reminds us. It is the supreme Christian Sacrament and it is presented as such in all the Gospels. At the Mass, Fr. Alex McAllister tells us, we are united with the Last Supper and there on the altar - just as there in the Upper Room - we receive the body and blood of Christ in the form of bread and wine. In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS preaches, we are incorporated into the very life of God, and the sacramental banquet becomes the Bond of love and unity.

OUR COMMUNION. Most often we refer to the Eucharist as "communion". But according to Fr. Joseph Pellegrino, we should understand that the communal aspect of the Eucharist is far more than a group of people sharing a meal. Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen tells those in Church who truly want to participate in the Eucharist that they are invited to remember all the blessings they have received from God - such as the Creation, the Redemption, and the Heaven that the Lord promises us as our inheritance.

Fr. Phil Bloom offers an apology on behalf of all priests to their parishioners if they feel they have not received enough for their priests in terms of material token, time and attention. But he reminds us all that the best thing by far that they have done for us, "is to give you the Body and Blood of Christ." And that, adds Father Cusick, is the one thing that is most necessary - Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist. So at many of our churches this week, Will you spend one hour with our Lord Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration?

Finally, Fr. Richard Neilson tells us that St. Peter Julian Eymard, the devotion to the Eucharist and to the Sacred Heart are in fact one thing, inseparable — devotion to the mystery of Christ's human and divine love. As we are all reminded by the US Bishops that every Catholic should consider how to more worthily receive the Eucharist. Here's the document: "Happy Are Those Who Are Called To His Supper: On Preparing To Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist.”

VATICAN NEWS. Reflecting on this week's celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Benedicts tells Catholics to use it as a chance to grow in love for Jesus in the Eucharist. The Pope also reflected on the teachings of the 9th century thinker John Scotus Erigena saying, "since faith and reason come from the same source -- divine wisdom -- authority should never contradict truth."

YEAR OF THE PRIESTS. And with The Year of the Priests set to launch in about a week, expect to hear more about this topic from the Vatican. The president of the U.S. episcopal conference said this week that although the priesthood has recently undergone a "purification," the coming celebration gives the Church an opportunity to rediscover what its all about. And this just in - US Catholics are growing in numbers! The 2009 Official Catholic Directory statistics report that there are one million more Catholics in the United States than the previous year. Catholics now officially compose 22% of the US population.

MORALITY IN OUR SECULAR WORLD. While lamenting the moral decay around us, Dwight Longenecker offered a ray of hope. The Catholic Church is the only worldwide religious institution which even attempts a coherent, intelligent and cohesive moral framework which applies to the whole of humanity. It is an authority; a rock in the midst of the shifting sands of our present moral morass. From Denver, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. delivers this speech, "New Life in Christ: What it looks like, what it demands."

Aneel Aranha discusses one of the seven deadly sins: Avarice - the self-serving and inordinate love of and desire for money, wealth, power, food, or other possessions. It's most appropriate in light of a US survey a few years ago that revealed what some people were willing to do for money, $10,000,000 to be exact. Out of every hundred people in the US, there are seven who would be willing to kill you, a total stranger, for money.

DIGITAL CATHOLIC. Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP, executive director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies told an audience in San Francisco that the Church must adapt to the digital world toreach the youth. She added the this most sage advise whendealing with the different media products and messages our youth should be exposed to: "Control is for a moment. Conversation is for a lifetime." And here's a neat little gadget. A Catholic mans has combined faith, high-tech savvy to invent new Bible format. "God on the Go" is the entire New American Bible - approved by the US Bishops - in a small and handy USB flash drive.

STORIES OF HOPE. "I wish you enough." That's what someone overheard a mother and daughter say in their last moments together at the airport as they hugged at the security gate. It's a very inspiring story. But here's one that's even more inspiring. What does a dying priest do when he's unexpectedly facing the final days of his life? In A dying priest's journey, he tells his parish members, "I'm a teacher, and this is a teachable moment."

SWINE FLU & THE NBA FINALS. How do you know when swine flu has turned serious? Doctores from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention explained what flu warning signs warrant urgent medical attention - for adults and children. And if you're cheering for your favorite team in the 2009 NBA Finals, you're not alone. The word is that Catholic leaders in Los Angeles and Orlando have made a friendly wager. Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony gets three key lime pies, four pounds of fresh shrimp and a bottle of oxygen (a jab at Los Angeles' poor air quality) from Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski, who would receive a case of wine should the Magic take the series.

In the interest of editorial integrity, I'm not telling you who I'm rooting for. But I won't be disappointed if the shiny NBA Championship trophy that's raised at the end of the series reflected some hues of purple and gold.

Another event-filled week in our Catholic World.

Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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