Thursday, June 4, 2015
Simple bread and wine seal God's covenant
with us through Jesus
by Sister Laura Zelten
Today's readings have two threads running through them: blood
and covenant. The first reading is a dramatic scene from Mount
Sinai. In the aftermath of the exodus, God summoned the people into
a covenant relationship: He would be their God, and they His
people. Being in God's special protection, Israel was called
through the commandments to proclaim God's holiness to the nations
This covenant relationship was sealed with the blood from
sacrificial animals -- "the blood of the covenant" -- symbolic of
the force and energy of life. Half of the blood was sprinkled on
the altar representing God's presence, and half on the people. God
and Israel were united and committed to one another.
In Mark's version of the Last Supper Jesus
breaks bread and pours out wine -- actions of his self-giving love
on the cross -- and offers them to his friends as his Body and
Blood. Jesus calls it "my blood of the covenant," echoing the words
of Moses. Through Christ's loving self-gift, God invites all of us
into a special relationship with Him, into "a new covenant." We are
to bear witness to God's holiness and love. As the end of today's
responsorial psalm suggests, we are to be a Eucharistic people in
the presence of all.
- Does my life reflect the joy of knowing and receiving the gift
of God's love poured forth through Jesus' offering of his Body and
- Do I appreciate that the Eucharist makes me part of a
community, the very body of Christ?
- Do I bring this gift to others?
Today is a wondrous feast. Let us celebrate it with joy and
thanksgiving (the meaning of the word "Eucharist"). And let us
share with others the amazing gift we receive every time we gather
to hear God's Word and come to the Lord's Table.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
What did Jesus mean by 'eat' and 'drink' of
the Son of Man?
by Sister Madonna Swintkoske
Sunday's Gospel (John
6:51-58) is a very difficult passage for many. Jesus says,
"Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of
Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you."
What does this mean? I read an explanation of a way to think
In a bookcase a woman had a book she never read. If it
remains unread the book is external to her. One day she takes
the book and reads it. She is thrilled and fascinated and
moved. The words remain in her memory. Now when she wants to
she can take that wonder out from inside herself, think about it
and feed her mind and heart upon it.
So it is with Jesus. As long as he remains a figure in a
book, he is external to us. When he told us to eat his flesh
and blood, he was telling us to feed our hearts and souls and minds
on him and to revitalize our life with his life until we are filled
with the life of God. Then we will abide in God and God will
abide in us. When we receive Christ in the Eucharist we are
empowered to seek Christ in each other and share God's love with
What a beautiful feast we celebrate today. Years ago we
received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. We ask
ourselves today, "Has our understanding of what this means changed
over the years?"
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The Real Presence of Jesus in Eucharist is
source of faith
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
In our parish we have a summer school program for our high
school students. Recently I finished teaching a course on
world religions. The question I kept asking the students as
we completed our study of each of the major religions was, "Knowing
what you now know, why would you choose to be a Catholic?"
Then I would remind them that a great spiritual writer, G.K.
Chesterton, says in his book, "The Everlasting Man," that religion has to be
During the past few weeks we have been listening to Jesus' Bread
of Life discourse. In the first part of that discourse He
invites us to believe in Him as the One sent from the Father.
We are to come to Him not only for what He does, but especially for
Who He is, the very substance, meaning, nourishment of our
lives. If we believe He is real, then we know why we are
In this Sunday's Gospel we are at the heart of what it means to be
Catholic. Jesus speaks about His flesh as real food and His
blood as real drink. Eating and drinking are the most
intimate things we do; what we receive actually becomes part
of who we are. If we believe in Jesus' Real Presence in the
Eucharist, then we know why we are Catholic.
Religion is about what is real. Is Jesus a real living
Person, the Son of God, or is He simply a great prophet from
the past? Is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist His real
Body and Blood, or a symbol or representation?
Catholicism is about what is real. Let us believe. Let
us enjoy the intimacy. Let us treasure the Gift.