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Category Archives: EUCHARIST

LUKE 9:17 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 9:11b-17)

Jakarta, 19 June 2022 [Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ]

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THE BODY AND BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

THE BODY AND BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST –  Sunday, 19 June 2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:11-17

First Reading: Genesis 14:18-20; Psalms: Psalm 110:1-4, Second Reading: 1Corintihians 11:23-26

The Scripture Text

When the crowds learned it, they followed Him; and He welcomed them and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away; and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And He said to His disciples, “make them sit down in companies, about fifty each.” And they did so, and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fist he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9:11-17 RSV)

Corpus Christi Sunday is a day when we celebrate Jesus’ goodness in feeding us through the Eucharist. In recounting the feeding of the 5,000 (at least), Luke tells how Jesus had intended to withdraw with His apostles for rest, but instead welcomed the throng that crowded around Him. Like a gentle shepherd, He tended to the sick, taught them about the Kingdom, and miraculously provided them with food. He ministered to them until everyone was satisfied (Luke 9:17).

As he wrote to the troubled church in Corinth, Saint Paul explained that Jesus is still able to care for his people: “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1Corinthians 11:26). Every time we read the Scriptures, we can be refreshed. Every time we pray, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ sacrifice – which we recall at every Mass – still has the power to wash away our sins and fill us with divine life.

The bread and wine transformed into Jesus’ body and blood can truly sustain us as we approach His altar with humble hearts. At the same time, whenever we eat and drink, we also look for the day when Jesus will come again. Then, He Himself will feed us directly, no longer through word and sacrament. “… He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

In the Holy Mass, let us eat and drink of Jesus with grateful hearts. It is HE who feeds us. It is HE who can meet all our physical and spiritual needs. Let us look for the day when Jesus will be with us. As Christians, all of our hope is centered on it.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, in Your words, we find truth. In Your wounds, we find life. In Your precious blood, we find the power to draw near to You. In Your death, we find life. In Your resurrection, we find hope for eternal life. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Jakarta, 18 June 2022

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JOHN 6:53 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 6:52-59)

Jakarta, 6 May 2022

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JOHN 6:50-51 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 6:44-51)

Jakarta, 5 May 2022

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I AM THE BREAD WHICH CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN

I AM THE BREAD WHICH CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN

(A biblical reflection on the 19th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 8 August 2021)

Gospel Reading: John 6:41-51

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalms: Psalm 34:2-9; Second Reading: Ephesians 4:30-5:2

The Scripture Text

The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘and they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except Him who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:41-51 RSV)

As Jesus spoke to the people of the heavenly food that the Father would give them, He reminded them of the prophets’ words: “They will all be taught by God” (John 6:45; see Isaiah 54:13). From the beginning, God’s intention was that His children would know Him personally and know their high dignity and value as His beloved children. He wanted to “feed” them with His presence and with the assurance of their place in His heart.

Despite our first parents’ disobedience and our subsequent separation from Him, God’s plan has not been thwarted. All through the Old Testament, God used His servants – prophets, patriarchs, kings, and priests – to teach His people about His love for them. Over and over, He forgave their unfaithfulness. Over and over, He sustained and protected them.

God knows that our journey back to Him is too great for us to accomplish on our own. Temptations are rife in this world, and our own hearts are darkened by sin to the point that we find it hard to do the very things we know we should do. This is why our heavenly Father has given us His Son Jesus to be bread for our journey. Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh (John 1:14), is our Teacher and our Sustenance. Through Him, God has revealed His wonderful promises. Through Christ, He has sent the Holy Spirit as our Counselor and Guide to help us to understand all that Jesus taught and lived.

As the Holy Spirit sustains and feeds us, He calls us to proclaim the BREAD OF LIFE – JESUS – to others. He entrusts us with God’s word and calls us to be His presence on earth. Look for opportunities to be a source of hope and encouragement today. The Holy Spirit is in each and every one of us. Through the EUCHARIST He feeds us (you and me) with His presence, and all throughout our day He is with us to love us and protect us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Jesus, the bread of life. Thank You that the Holy Spirit is always with us to bring us closer to Jesus, who is the ultimate source of our strength, hope, and consolation. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Jakarta, 7 August 2021

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DO WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST’S PRESENCE IN THE EUCHARIST?

DO WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST’S PRESENCE IN THE EUCHARIST?

(A biblical reflection on SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY SUNDAY: THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST – 6 June 2021)

Gospel Reading: Mark 14:12-16,22-26

First Reading: Exodus 24:3-8; Psalms: Psalm 116:12-13,15-18, Second Reading: Hebrews 9:11-15

The Scripture Text

And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where will You have us go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The teacher says, Where is My guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with My disciples?’  And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready, there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

And as they were eating, He took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and give it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”

Ang when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.(Mark 14:12-16,22-26 RSV)

In New York City in 1985, Brigitte Gerney got pinned beneath a fallen construction crane. For six torturous hours, paramedics struggled frantically to keep her alive until she could be rescued.

During that ordeal Brigitte was given not only blood transfusions, fluids and painkillers, but also the Eucharist which she specifically asked for. Brigitte was then taken to a hospital where doctors operated on her for another five hours.

The crane accident was only the most recent of a whole series of mishaps Brigitte has suffered. During the previous fifteen years, her first child had drowned accidentally at age 18 months, her husband died of cancer, her father was killed in an automobile accident, she had two operations to remove cancer and she had suffered multiple injuries in a cable car crash in Switzerland in 1982.

And yet, after all that, Brigitte Gerney did not curse Christ when she was under the crane. She asked for Him in the Eucharist. She did not blame God for her bad luck. She asked her rescuers to pray with her. No wonder Dr. Tom Fahey, Jr. said of her: “She has indomitable spirit and a strong faith in God.”

Do we have that kind of faith? Do we believe that strongly in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist? On this Feast of Corpus Christi we have an opportunity to reaffirm our faith in the Eucharist. Today we can take our stand with the people of Exodus and accept God’s covenant with us: “Lord, all you’ve said at the Last Supper about the Eucharist, we will believe. All you have commanded about it, we will do.”

During the Exodus journey God gave the Israelites manna from heaven to feed them. On the strength of that food they were able to travel forty years through the desert.

During her excruciating ordeal Brigitte Gerney requested and received the Eucharist. On the strength of that bread she was able to survive the six hours she was pinned under the crane and another five hours of surgery.

During our own personal journey through life we sometimes have to cross deserts, encounter accidents, endure disappointments or suffer tragedies. By ourselves we could never survive. Left to our own strength we would give up. That is why we need the Eucharist and the strength that comes from this bread to energize our spirits. This is why we need God’s special presence and power.

In Mark’s Gospel we read how our Lord left the upper room and walked out to the Mount of Olives. What He left was the Last Supper during which He instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist. His walking out to the Mount of Olives was also something very sacramental and symbolic. Jesus was showing that He was ready for His rendezvous with destiny and that He was resolved to lay down His life for us on the cross.

May this often be our own experience after celebrating the Eucharist. Coming in we may be afraid of what we have to face in the future. But when we leave, may we be ready and resolved to take up our cross. Coming in we may have serious doubts about how to deal with certain difficulties. But when we leave, may we be filled with determination to do what God expects of us.

Do we believe that this is possible? Brigitte Gerney did. Otherwise how can we explain her indomitable spirit in the face of all the tragedies she experienced?

As we continue the Eucharistic celebration, pray for Brigitte’s kind of faith in the Eucharist; a faith which firmly believes that Christ is always present in the Eucharist, regardless of how absent He may seem to be at times; a faith which believes that Christ’s power is always available to us, regardless of how helpless we may feel at times; a faith which enables us to walk with our Lord to our own Mount of Olives and to rise with Him in glory.

Source: Albert Cylwicki, CSB, HIS WORD RESOUNDS, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications,1991, pages 142-143.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for feeding and strengthening me with Your body and blood. Thank You for filling my hunger. Light my way as I seek to bring Your life to others. Amen.

Jakarta, 5 June 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE EUCHARIST AS A SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT TO HIS FOLLOWERS UNTIL THE END OF TIME

THE EUCHARIST AS A SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT TO HIS FOLLOWERS UNTIL THE END OF TIME

(A biblical reflection on the 18th Ordinary Sunday [Year A] – 2 August 2020)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:13-21 

First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalms: Psalm 145:8-9,15-18; Second Reading: Romans 8:35,37-39

The Scripture Text

Now when Jesus heard this, He withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed Him on foot from the towns. As He went ashore He saw a great throng; and He had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food rot themselves.” Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to Him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides woman and children. (Matthew 14:13-21 RSV) 

Today’s Gospel Reading is St. Matthew’s account of the miracle of the multiplication of bread to feed a multitude – a miracle related by the three other Evangelists also. In all four Gospels this miracle is seen as a foreshadowing of the Eucharistic meal which Christ was to provide miraculously for the multitude of His followers. In St. John’s Gospel this is clearly indicated, for it was the occasion of Christ’s discourse on the Eucharist (John 6:27-40). In the other Gospels certain phrases, like “blessed, broke, gave to His disciples”, occur which would remind the readers already familiar with the Eucharistic liturgy, of the institution of the Eucharist.

This miracle also brought out the Messiahship of Christ, for the miraculous feeding of the hungry was to be one of the gifts of the messianic age. Moses fed the Israelites miraculously in the desert (Exodus 16:13-14); the prophet Elisha fed a hundred men miraculously (2Kings 4:42-44); the prophets frequently describe the messianic era as one of peace and plenty for everyone. In today’s first reading the second-Isaiah promises that God has prepared a banquet for all His Chosen People; all they have to do is to come to it.

This miracle of multiplication of bread was actually an act of kindness and loving thoughtfulness on the part of Christ. He saw the people’s need – it was late for them to return to their homes and they had had nothing to eat all day – and He worked a miracle to provide for this need. The miracle also helped to convince the people of Galilee – the news spread around quickly – that He was the expected Messiah, but especially it prepared the way for the announcement of the greatest miracle of all – the miracle of the Eucharist.

The bread He miraculously multiplied that day to supply the bodily needs of the Galilean multitude was but a foreshadowing of that heavenly food which He was about to give as spiritual nourishment to the millions who would become His followers down through the centuries until the end of time.

The Galileans were grateful to Him for providing so kindly and so thoughtfully for their needs. How much more grateful should we not be for the miracle by means of which He has left us Himself to be our daily spiritual food? We are grateful, of course, to our loving Lord who not only handed up His body to His enemies to be crucified for us, but through His divine power, arranged that His glorified body, triumphant over death, should remain with us, His Church, forever under the Eucharistic species.

Though invisible to mortal eyes, He is as truly present on our altars as He was that day in Galilee, when He miraculously fed the multitude. He is present under the form of bread and wine – so that we can partake of Him as spiritual nourishment during our earthly life. Could love go any further? He Himself said: “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Yes, once a man has given his life he has given his all; there is nothing more he can give. But Christ was more than man. He was God as well, and, therefore, He was able not only to lay down His human life for us, but was able and willing to remain with us after death under Eucharistic species: to be our strength and nourishment until we join Him in the promised land of heaven.

When we compare our own unworthiness with this, almost incredible, love and thoughtfulness of Christ for us, all we can do is simply to say: “Lord, You know I am not worthy to receive You, but You say You want to come into my poor and untidy home, please make me less unworthy, forgive all my past sins and offences, and give me the grace and strength to be better in future.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, I am amazed by Your compassion. Thank You for sacrificing Your life on the altar of the cross so that I might have Your life in me. Thank You for feeding me with Your own self. By Your Holy Spirit, help me open myself up to the transforming power of Your love. Amen. 

Jakarta, 1 August 2020 

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THE LIVING BREAD: Solemnity of the most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ [Year A] – John 6:51-58

Jakarta, 14 June 2020

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Posted by on June 14, 2020 in EUCHARIST, MISCELLANY

 

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JOHN 6:56 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 6:52-59)

Jakarta, 1 May 2020

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THE EUCHARIST IS OUR EMMAUS

THE EUCHARIST IS OUR EMMAUS

(A biblical reflection on THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR A], 26 April 2020)

Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35 

First Reading: Acts 2:14,22-33; Psalms: Psalm 16:1-2,7-11; Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:17-21 

The Scripture Text

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, name Cleopas, answered Him, “Are You the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered Him up to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we had hoped that He was the One to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find His body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” And He said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So He went in to stay with them. When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 24:13-35 RSV)

In today’s Gospel two disciples are struggling to make sense of a recent event: the death of Jesus. They leave Jerusalem over their shoulder as the place where their hopes met with final defeat. When a stranger joins them on the road, they tell the story of their disappointment. Jesus, the one they had hoped would set Israel free, is now dead. In their story it becomes clear that they cannot hold two things together: their hope in Jesus and His death. The death of Jesus cancels out their hope. They feel hopeless and helpless.

The two disciples cannot understand how the death of Jesus can be understood as anything more than a tragic end to a life of promise. Like most people they believe that if you haven’t achieved what you set out to do before your death, you will never achieve it in death itself. When you are dead, it’s too late for everything. Death is the end of the road of promise. So the disciples mourn not only the death of Jesus but the death of their relationship with Him. Now they are ex-disciples of a dead prophet. With faces to match their story.

Only when they have finished their own story does the stranger begin his own. He invites them to look at the past again, this time in the light of scripture. He gives a wholly different interpretation of the same event as he sees the death of Christ as something which was essential for His glory. According to the stranger, the death of Jesus was the achievement of His mission – not the collapse of it.

As the stranger helps the two disciples to make sense of the past in a new light, they respond by inviting him to stay with them. When they go in to table they break bread together. The stranger gives himself away by giving himself way to them. He is the risen Jesus, and He leaves them with hearts that burn and with eyes that see. Not only does He help them to interpret the past in their new experience of Him as LORD, He gives them a new future. They can now face Jerusalem even in the dark, and they return there to share their story with the others.

In their new experience of Jesus as LORD, the disciples’ past is changed. TE hey can now revisit the past with the new light and the new love that they have experienced. They take the light of Easter Sunday back into the darkness of Good Friday, and everything looks different now. Only the risen Jesus makes sense of everything that went before. In His word and in the breaking of the bread the past is brought up to date. The past  is now interpreted in the light of the great truth that Jesus is risen and is LORD.

Breaking of bread at Emmaus

When we gather together to celebrate the Eucharist we too listen to the word of God and break bread together. Jesus comes among us not as a stranger; rather, He comes to us in word and sacrament to give us new hope to face the future with faith in Him. Our own stories may not sound very different from the two forlorn disciples on the road to Emmaus: we too may be covered in disappointment; we too may have a past that makes little senses to us. But we are invited to tell our stories to the Lord, to listen to Him as He speaks His word, and to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. Only then can we look with understanding at the past, and with hope look to the future.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, I want to know You more deeply. I want to hear Your voice in Scripture. I want to recognize You in the “breaking of the bread”, to see Your face in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Come and show me Your ways so that I may have life. Amen.

Jakarta, 25 April 2020 [Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist] 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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