Tag Archives: Eucharist

have you anything here to eat?

19 Apr

 

A homily in back to back Masses can be the same and different.

At the 8 o’clock Mass there was a baptism. I made a reference to (mother) Marni feeding her child.

At the 9:30 a.m. Mass there was dismissal of a catechumen (or candidate, I was not and still am not sure) after the homily. Then I got carried away introducing the universal prayer and forgot the creed. Rutro!

The homily was the same – and different. God is good.

12 to 11 to 3 to 0

8 May

In the heat of June the pilgrim-teachers whom I will accompany to the Holy Land will want to walk where Jesus walked and to see what Jesus saw.

There are some ancient steps that Jesus would have walked twice on what we call “Holy Thursday,” once when he went down from the Upper Room on his way to Gethsemane, and once when he was taken from Gethsemane back up to the House of Caiaphas. Twice that night he would have walked through the Kidron Valley where he would passed some tombs, once with eleven of his disciples and once with none of them.

If  the weather, the schedule and the authorities permit, the pilgrim-teachers and I will pray the rosary, as we stand near the tombs in the Kidron Valley. For the prayer I have written a set of mysteries of the rosary: “The Agonizing Mysteries.” The surest way for me to see the errors in the text is to publish it, for as soon as I hit the “publish” key to post, I will see the errors of my ways. It happened all the time. So, here goes. Publish makes perfect!

Rosary in the Kidron Valley

“The Agonizing Mysteries”

Jesus is in the Upper Room.

  • The disciples ask Jesus, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
  • The disciples go off, enter the city, and find it just as he had told them it would be.
  • They prepare the Passover.
  • As they recline at table, Jesus says, “One of you will betray me.”
  • Peter vehemently replies, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all speak similarly.
  • While they are eating, he takes bread, says the blessing, breaks it, and gives it to them, and says, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
  • He takes a cup, gives thanks, and gives it to them, and they all drink from it.
  • Jesus gets up from the table, takes off his outer garments, and ties a towel round his waist.
  • He pours water into a basin and begins to wash their feet.
  • Then, after singing a hymn, they go out to the Mount of Olives.

Tombs-in-the-Kidron-Valley

Jesus passes through the Kidron Valley the first time. 

  • Jesus had seen these tombs many times, but tonight, in the full moon, they look different and feel different.
  • He feels the dust at his feet, the silence of the night, and the darkness in his soul.
  • Jesus thinks about that only son of that widowed woman who was being carried out of their town to be buried. (Luke 7:11-18)
  • How he steps forward, touches the coffin, and says, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
  • Jesus thinks about that twelve year old only daughter of that synagogue official who died in her bed. (Mark 5:21-43)
  • How he takes the child by the hand and says to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
  • Jesus thinks about the brother of Mary and Martha who had been in the tomb for four days. (John 11:1-44)
  • How he cries out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
  • How the dead man comes out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face wrapped in a cloth. “Untie him and let him go.”
  • It crosses through the mind of Jesus that he could run over the Mount of Olives to Bethany to hide at the home of his friends, or to escape safely into the desert beyond. 

Jesus is in Gethsemane. 

  • They come to a place named Gethsemane.
  • “Sit here while I pray.”
  • Jesus begins to be troubled and distressed.
  • “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.”
  • Jesus advances a little, and falls to the ground.
  • “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.”
  • He returns and finds them asleep.
  • “Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
  • Judas, one of the Twelve, his betrayer, had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.”
  • All the disciples leave him and flee.

 Jesus passes through the Kidron Valley the second time. 

  • Jesus had called twelve disciples who walked with him for three years.
  • From the upper room Jesus comes down the ancient steps with only eleven of those disciples, and comes to the garden.
  • As he enters deeper into the garden of the olive trees with only three, he leaves even them behind, and he goes deeper into agony.
  • Betrayed, abandoned and arrested, Jesus walks into this valley of death again, this time with none of his disciples – zero of the twelve – from 12 to 11 to 3 to zero.
  • He looks toward the city to see the gate of his entry on the donkey and to hear the hosannas of the crowds waving the branches of palm.
  • He spots the top of the temple of sacrifice rising above the outer wall.
  • He remembers going with the devil to the pinnacle of the temple, that corner of the wall, and being tempted to tempt God by jumping.
  • The women are nearby, the ones who promised to stay with him and remain for him, no matter what.
  • He thinks of his mother, her embraces, her assurances and their conversations.
  • At one and the same time he feels alone and he feels God being with him.

steps Peter Gallicantu

Jesus is in the house of Caiaphas. 

  • Those same steps that he had walked down just a few hours ago in front of his disciples – they feel different to his feet as the guards push and pull him up the steps.
  • They take him to the house of the high priest, Caiaphas.
  • In front of everyone Peter begins to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.”
  • Immediately a cock crows. Peter weeps bitterly.
  • They condemn him as deserving to die.
  • They spit in his face, blindfold him and slap him.
  • They lower him into the dampness of the prison pit for the night.
  • The words of the psalm, memorized and stored in his heart, move to his lips, “Lord, the God of my salvation, at night I cry aloud in your presence. My soul is filled with troubles. I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit. My only friend is darkness.”
  • His words, “You must take up your cross and follow me,” come back to haunt him.
  • He longs for the touch of his mother and he feels her absence.

 

stay at the table

21 Apr

Road to Emmaus 01

even on this day after Easter Sunday, there  can be dashed hopes. We wonder what God has in mind sometimes, if indeed he is thinking about us at all. We discuss the distress of our days and argue about how today can be fixed and about what tomorrow might be like, if either we or God don’t do something real fast. Among us believers there is conversation today, just as …

Road to Emmaus 02

back then on the very day the disciples received word that others had said that the tomb of Jesus was empty. 

As then, so now, in the midst of disappointments and wonderings, Jesus joins us “on the way” as we debate. Little by little, if we stay with the conversation, he turns our debate into a question and answer session, reminding us about what the plan has been all along and showing us that there is evidence even on this day, incomplete as it is, that the plan is moving ahead and is on schedule. 

Showing himself to us in the breaking of the bread, he simply asks us to “stay at the table.”

Road to Emmaus 03

 

TRU DAT – Amen!

26 Aug

With the junior high kids in their classroom during one of their first days of school, I heard about one of those electronic shorthand phrases that is used in email and such things. It was new to me: TRU DAT. To a text or a tweet, they told me, I can respond, “TRU DAT,” which means, “That’s right. I agree.” It is a like a church full of believers giving the preacher an, “Amen to that!” I asked the kids to pay attention on Sunday, because I was going to try to use that expression in my homily somehow. I found out that it was quite easy with Sunday’s Gospel.

You see, Jesus had been speaking these last few Sundays in John’s Gospel about himself being Eucharist for us: “I am the bread of life. I am the bread come down from heaven. My body is real food, my blood is real drink. I am Eucharist for you. Those who eat my body and drink my blood will have eternal life; those who don’t, won’t.” Unlike many who found this teaching too hard and too shocking to believe, and walked away, Peter, speaking for himself and his companions, responded instantly, “TRU DAT.” What he meant was, “You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God. You are Eucharist for us. That’s right. I agree.”

Then the Apostles tweeted the text of Jesus with their TRU DAT to all their followers, who in turn did a RT to all their followers. That continued, until someone wrote it all down. And we call it the Gospel. To which we respond, “TRU DAT.”

our “not enough” on the altar

28 Jul

When we put our “not enough” on the altar, we are ready for Eucharist.

On either side of the front doors of our church is an empty niche.

The earliest photos we have of the church, from 1923 when it was dedicated

and from 1948 when the school was built next door,

 do not show anything in those spaces.

Our oldest parishioners, one of whom was the last baby baptized in the old church in 1923, do not remember anything ever having been in those niches and do not remember ever hearing any conversation through the years about why there wasn’t anything in them.

If I win the lottery and could personally fund the project, I would propose to the people for their approval that there be a statue of St. Andrew in one of niches, and in the other one, a statue of a boy with four loaves and two fish. No, that is not a typo. Four loaves.

Seeing those statutes, everyone would come through those front doors, and could enter personally into the story of this weekend’s Gospel. Andrew and the boy with the loaves would lead the procession to the altar. Standing before Jesus, Andrew would speak for himself and the boy, and for all of us, “But what good are these for so many?” We would hear Andrew acknowledge that he and the boy were not up to the task of feeding the thousands. They would admit that they did not have what they needed, that they did not have enough. We would listen as Jesus calmly and reassuringly said, “What you have, give it to me.” We would watch, as he took their “not enough,” blessed it, broke it, and gave it back to them, to give to others. We would be amazed that there was more than enough!

When we come to Mass on any given Sunday, we come with our own “not enough” of some sort. We acknowledge that we are not up to some task or some situation or some personal issue. We are not strong enough. We are not smart enough or resourceful enough. We do not have enough faith, enough trust. We do not have what we need. We simply do not have enough. As we stand before Jesus with our “not enough,” he asks us to put it on the altar.

When we put our “not enough” on the altar, we are ready for Eucharist. 

Oh, yes, the boy in the statue outside with the four loaves.  Why four, when in the story he has five? Imagine the fun we would have when we bring someone to church or we meet a visitor, and point out the statue. Calling attention to the fact that there are four loaves, we would say that it helps us remember the story of the five loaves. “Why are there just four loaves?” we would inevitably be asked. 

“The fifth loaf is inside on the altar.”