|10/12/2017 9:00:00 AM|
WORD OF FAITH
Prepare for feast of faith
BY REV. JOHN P. CUSH
FROM A READING FOR OCT. 15, 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
'I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty....I can do all things through Him who strengthens me...' -- Phil 4:12-13
In all of the readings for this Sunday, we can discern one dominant image: that of being well cared for, of being fed at the Table of the Lord.
The responsorial psalm (Ps 23), probably the most famous of all of the psalms, states: "You spread the table before me...."
The first reading (Is 25:6-10) speaks of the saving feast provided by the Lord of hosts on the mountain.
The Gospel passage (Mt 22:1-14) speaks about the wedding feast to which all are invited by the king.
At the banquet
It's obvious that Mother Church wishes us to ponder the mystery of the banquet of the kingdom to which all of us are invited, as in Matthew 22 - a banquet for which we need to be prepared, as is detailed in this same Gospel passage, making sure the "wedding garment" of our minds, hearts and souls are in order.
This banquet of the kingdom is the Eucharist. We can use the readings to reflect on how we prepare for the feast of faith that we celebrate in the Eucharist every Sunday.
The Eucharist is not just a sign or symbol. We believe it is the true Body and Blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus, sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine. The Eucharist is Jesus Christ, given in the form of the staple of the diet of the people of Jesus' day.
We have, in many ways, lost a sense of wonder and awe concerning the Eucharist. Do we reverently receive the Body and Blood of Christ? Do we take time to pray after the reception of communion? Do we realize that, having received the Body and Blood of Christ, we are all now living, breathing, walking tabernacles of God, the most high?
How different our lives would be if only we stopped to realize that fact! How differently we would treat one another, recognizing the fact that Jesus lives in my brother and sister!
We should make an extra effort to engage in eucharistic adoration. Remember the story of St. Jean-Marie Vianney and the old man who would sit for hours in the church before our eucharistic Lord in the tabernacle. The Cure of Ars asked the peasant what he was doing as he sat there, and the peasant replied, "Nothing. I look at Him and He looks at me."
Looking at the Lord, especially when we can sit quietly in front of Him, is like looking into the mirror of truth. As we look to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, He looks back lovingly at us. We give Him our fears, our worries, our anxieties; and the wise and gentle teacher, present in the eucharistic species, in the silence, gives us His peace.
There is no greater way to pray than in front of the Blessed Sacrament. In his autobiography, "Treasure in Clay," Venerable Fulton Sheen says: "I keep up the holy hour to grow more and more into His likeness. As Paul puts it: 'We are transfigured into His likeness, from splendor to splendor.'
"We become like that which we gaze upon. Looking into a sunset, the face takes on a golden glow. Looking at the eucharistic Lord for an hour transforms the heart in a mysterious way, as the face of Moses was transformed after his companionship with God on the mountain. Something happens to us similar to that which happened to the disciples at Emmaus."
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is quality time with the one we love, who loves us more than we can ever ask for or imagine. Through reverent participation at Mass and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, may we prove to the world that Jesus is with us, and have the courage and strength to make the Lord known and loved at every moment, until the end of time.
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