LITURGY CORNER #11
"I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE,
HE WHO COMES TO ME SHALL NOT HUNGER...."
This familiar passage is one of those cited by the Church in explaining the mystery of the Eucharist. This mystery is the heart of our relationship with Jesus. His presence to us in the Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life" as the Church continues to remind us. We experience this reality most deeply in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, when we as a people join together to worship and glorify God and to receive Him, in His Holy Word and in His Holy Body and Blood. But the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus is not limited to this. The Church has long recommended other ways of worshipping and adoring Jesus' Eucharistic Presence, while always maintaining the absolute preeminence of His Presence in the Mass itself. This sentiment was expressed particularly by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical on the Eucharist: "The faithful should, as we all hope, every day and in great numbers actively participate in the sacrifice of the Mass...and...moreover, in the course of the day, the faithful should not omit to visit the blessed Sacrament...Such visits are a proof of gratitude, a pledge of love, a service of adoration owed to Christ the Lord there present." (Mysterium Fidei, #66). The Church teaches much about this idea of adoration, promoting its practice in the life of the Church: "This practice of adoration has a valid and firm foundation, especially since belief in the real presence of the Lord has as its natural consequence the external and public manifestation of that belief." (Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, #49). This same sentiment is expressed in the Church's teaching on exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: "Exposition of the blessed Sacrament...is a recognition of the wondrous presence of Christ in the Sacrament and stimulates us to unite ourselves to Him in a spiritual union which finds its culmination in sacramental communion. It is, accordingly, eminently in harmony with the worship which we owe Him in spirit and in truth." (Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, On Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery Outside Mass, #82). In keeping with this teaching, Christ the King has Eucharistic adoration and benediction every Thursday night. All our parishioners are always welcome to attend this. We couple this adoration with intercession for our parish Council and Commissions that meet on Thursday night. Many folks in Christ the King have also expressed a desire to have more opportunity to simply pray before His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Accordingly, it has been decided to make that more possible for folks by bringing a Tabernacle to our Sunday morning Liturgy. It will be placed on the Altar at the conclusion of the 9 a.m. Mass and removed before the 11 a.m. Mass begins. This will give folks an opportunity to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. We will need to remember that this gives our worship space a greater solemnity and so we need to act in a way that reverently acknowledges the Eucharistic presence of Jesus among us, maintaining an environment of prayer and reverence, so that those who wish to spend some time in prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament can do so without distraction. This would be a good time in particular to educate our children about the special ways we acknowledge Jesus' Presence in the Eucharist, e.g. genuflecting, being reverent, etc. We will begin this in September. Let us pray that each of us would have the wisdom to partake fully of the ways in which the Church invites us to experience and worship Jesus present to us in the Eucharist.