Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This weekend we have the opportunity to spend some time in prayer and adoration in the church following the 11:30 am Mass until the beginning of the 5:30 pm Mass. As we celebrate what has traditionally been called Corpus Christi Sunday, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the need for reverence of and for the Body of Christ. I’ve noticed that a plethora of people seem to leave after receiving communion as if they got what they wanted and leave, disrupting, and even disrespecting the Body of Christ of which they are a part. This early departure seems to serve individual convenience above reverence for the Body of Christ gathered. Please arrange your schedules such that you do not leave early, even if this means reading the bulletin in the parking lot, praying the rosary for patience in your car, or discussing the homily with those who might be traveling with you.
To help us better understand and reverence the presence of Christ, the following was written by Jim Wahl, Coordinator of Liturgy and Music.
As you walk into the sanctuary of St. Francis of Assisi, you are walking into the presence of Christ. Look to your left and notice the ever-burning candle, a sign of the enduring presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament reserved in our chapel. Every time you enter or leave our sanctuary, take a moment to acknowledge this presence. It is important, because it is who we are and what we will become.
The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is a mystery. We can hardly “understand” it, but we can attempt to “stand under it.” That is exactly what the Church attempted to do in the Second Vatican Council when she stated that in the Eucharist, Christ is present to us in four manners: the species of bread and wine that become the Body and Blood, the Priest Presider, the Word of God and the Assembly that prays and sings. However, when the Mass ends, does the presence of Christ diminish? Do we become orphans as we wait for the next Eucharist?
The Blessed Sacrament began being “reserved” in a tabernacle early in the Middle Ages, in order to provide the sacrament to those who were ill and unable to come to the table directly.
Eventually a devotion to Christ’s enduring presence in the Blessed Sacrament developed. The Second Vatican Council truly made the connection between this enduring presence and us, the People of God. We are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ that we may become the Body of Christ to the world. It is our task as Christians to extend the peace, love, and hope that is the presence of Christ encountered in the Mass to all those we meet in our daily lives. Stopping and acknowledging the enduring presence in the tabernacle is a reminder that we all become tabernacles of God’s grace in the Eucharist and transmit to this world, helping to “renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104)
In the peace of Christ,