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Summary: The sacrament of Holy Eucharist nourishes our faith and gives us a context in which to express that faith.

Thursday of 2nd Week of Easter 2014

Lumen Fidei

Where did He get all this? Isn’t He just a carpenter’s son? There’s a reality in human life that is not animated by the Holy Spirit. Any tree that is taller than the trees around it attracts attention and is likely to get cut down. Jesus stood out among His relatives, and so attracted the wrong kind of attention along with the right. That’s the meaning of this sometimes confusing passage from Matthew. Matthew’s point was not to call into dispute the fundamental doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. After all, if Mary had given birth to James and Joseph and Simon and Judas, Jesus would have entrusted her to one of them on Calvary. No, the idea here is something like this–look at these relatives of Jesus. Is there anything special about them? How about His female relatives–is there any uniqueness there, any particular talent? No. They are all mediocre, like the rest of us. What makes Jesus special? It must be a trick. People are lying about Him. He can’t be so wonderful.

What did make Jesus special? He was the Son of God, animated by the Spirit of God. And above everything else, He put on love, as St. Paul counseled. The peace of Christ reigned in Jesus’ heart, and since we have the same Spirit, the peace of Christ can also rule in our hearts and homes. How can we nourish this spirit, and show to others that peace and that love we must have if we are to witness to the world? It is the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, which we participate in today through a Word and Communion service, that makes it all possible. This is the physical and spiritual touching of Jesus Christ which we must have if, by faith, we are to be Christ to our world.

The popes affirm this: “The sacramental character of faith finds its highest expression in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a precious nourishment for faith: an encounter with Christ truly present in the supreme act of his love, the life-giving gift of himself. In the Eucharist we find the intersection of faith’s two dimensions. On the one hand, there is the dimension of history: the Eucharist is an act of remembrance, a making present of the mystery in which the past, as an event of death and resurrection, demonstrates its ability to open up a future, to foreshadow ultimate fulfilment. The liturgy reminds us of this by its repetition of the word hodie, the “today” of the mysteries of salvation. On the other hand, we also find the dimension which leads from the visible world to the invisible. In the Eucharist we learn to see the heights and depths of reality. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, who becomes present in his passover to the Father: this movement draws us, body and soul, into the movement of all creation towards its fulfilment in God.”

In each Eucharistic celebration we affirm our faith, but particularly do we do so on the Lord’s Day: “In the celebration of the sacraments, the Church hands down her memory especially through the profession of faith. The creed does not only involve giving one’s assent to a body of abstract truths; rather, when it is recited the whole of life is drawn into a journey towards full communion with the living God. We can say that in the creed believers are invited to enter into the mystery which they profess and to be transformed by it. The believer who professes his or her faith is taken up, as it were, into the truth being professed. He or she cannot truthfully recite the words of the creed without being changed, without becoming part of that history of love which embraces us and expands our being, making it part of a great fellowship, the ultimate subject which recites the creed, namely, the Church. All the truths in which we believe point to the mystery of the new life of faith as a journey of communion with the living God.”

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