On this 19th Sunday of the Year, the Scriptures invite us to reflect upon the theme of the Eucharist as life-giving. At the end of the movie the Mission, the Guarani community of indigenous peoples is being attacked by the Portuguese forces. As the soldiers enter the village, they are initially slowed by a procession lead by Father Gabriel carrying the monstrance with the Eucharist. However, the commander orders the soldiers to fire on the people, killing nearly everyone in the mission. One of the most beautiful pieces of music composed for the score by Ennio Morricone was entitled Vita nostra (our life). The natives had been taught that the Eucharist is “our life” and so they were not afraid to die because they knew that their ultimate life was found in God.
So too in our lives as Catholic Christians: The Eucharist gives us life and that is why we offer reverence to the Eucharistic presence in the tabernacle, during the Mass, or in the monstrance at Benediction. We know that this simple piece of bread, through the invocation of the Holy Spirit, has become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. This human substance has become divine mystery and thus becomes for us the means to taste divine life.
By our baptism, we have been sealed in the Holy Spirit and marked with the sign of Christ. The Eucharist further nourishes and strengthens us to grow into our Christianity. Because we are redeemed by Jesus Christ and have the gift of heaven offered to us, we are admonished by the letter to the Ephesians “not to grieve the Holy Spirit” by committing acts of irreverence toward one another. The reverence and deference that we offer to Christ in the Eucharistic elements should also be extended to our brothers and sisters in Christ. The best sacrifice that we can offer to God is to imitate Him in our treatment of others.
For your reflection this week, meditate on the words to the Ephesians: “Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.”
REVEREND MONSIGNOR JOHN KASZA was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1993. He holds a B.A. in History from Wayne State University, Detroit and an Master of Divinity from Sacred Heart Major Seminary. He earned his doctorate in Sacramental Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo in Rome in 1999. Msgr. Kasza has served as an assistant professor of sacramental theology, liturgy and homiletics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and has also taught at the Liturgical Institute at St. Mary of the Lake University in Mundelein, Illinois. He most recently served as Secretary to both Adam Cardinal Maida and Archbishop Allen Vigneron and was Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit. In July of 2009, Msgr. Kasza became the Academic Dean at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Monsignor is currently pastor of St. James the Greater parish in Novi, Michigan and has authored several articles. His book, Understanding Sacramental Healing: Anointing and Viaticum, is available through Amazon.