The sky is overcast and growing darker as we gather in the dining room for our morning conference with retired Bishop Joe Charron. He is nearly upstaged by our resident chipmunk as it skitters back and forth along the retaining wall outside. Goldfinches, too, provide a bit of drama as they flit among the tall grasses, in brilliant bursts of sunshine amid the green. Later, a doe and her fawn will gambol along the lake as they travel from one wooded area to another.
Today’s topic (under the theme, “Renewing Our Desire to be Holy”): Eucharist: The Gift of Jesus to Us.
Bishop Joe begins with a discussion of Transubstantiation, the Catholic belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Communion host and wine. That is, the host becomes flesh and the wine becomes blood. He says this is important, of course, but that it doesn’t negate the other real presences of Jesus, as when two or more gather in his name.
Bishop Joe then cites gospel readings that are Eucharistic, as when Jesus feeds 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish (Mt. 14). God’s super-abundance is left over for us to feed others with! Another Eucharistic reading is found in Luke 24, on the road to Emmaus. First, Jesus “opens the Scriptures” to his followers. Later, when he breaks bread with them, they finally recognize him. “Were our hearts not burning within us?” they ask one another before going forth to share the Good News.
Finally, Bishop Joe cites John 13 and the washing of the feet passage. (Sister Stefanie reflects on this part in her blog.)
Reflecting on these readings, Bishop Joe suggests we take time to prepare before celebrating Eucharist:
1. Take time to read the day’s readings
2. Arrive hungry and ready to be fed
3. Quiet down, and try to be attentive (gently push the distractions aside)
4. Be grateful – God is so generous to us, we need to be generous to others
5. Read “What Happens at Mass,” by Jeremy Driscoll, OSB