Why Saturday May 24, 1958, changed my life...
Friday, June 4, 2021
Friday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time
"Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex
of the whole Christian life,
they offer the Divine Victim to God,
and offer themselves along with It."
The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,
Saturday, May 24, 1958 was the day I made my First Holy Communion. I was seven years old. Our parish was Our Lady of the Lakes in Waterford, Michigan. Our pastor was Father Frank Delaney. As it happens, I remember little of the day beyond lining up in the parish parking lot to go into the church for Holy Mass. I vividly recall, however, that it was around that time I first felt that God was calling me to the priesthood. Such is the power of the Holy Eucharist!
This Sunday is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, that is, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is a day for all of us to express personal gratitude to Jesus Christ for the great gift of the Blessed Sacrament. As you may know, our word, “sacrament,” renders a Greek word meaning, “mystery.” This is not a who-done-it. Rather, the seven sacraments – with the Holy Eucharist prime among them – are about God showing us his mysterious plan for our salvation and the means to achieve that salvation. This has been revealed to us by Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. That is why, as in all things, the words of Jesus are so important for us. Let me explain further.
Image: Bishop Earl Boyea's Second Grade Photograph
St. Paul very rarely quotes Jesus. Remember that Paul had not lived with Jesus and thus had not heard him speak. Paul certainly had not been at the Last Supper. Nonetheless, in his First Letter to the Corinthians Paul cites these words of Jesus from the Last Supper, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (11:24). These same words appear in Luke’s account of that last meal with Jesus (22:19).
Perhaps had Jesus simply had this meal and shared his flesh and blood with these close friends, these apostles, that would have been enough. But it was not enough. Jesus wanted to leave a lasting memorial. He wanted to give all his followers a continuing source of strength, of food for the journey, of sustenance to face any trial. And so, he gave his body and blood to be offered and received every day until he should come again in glory.
The Mass, the Eucharist, then, is that daily offering which we make to bring alive the death and resurrection of the Son of God. In that great celebration we are invited to unite our own lives, joined already in Baptism, to the very life and offering of Jesus. That is why the Mass is not a spectator sport. We are all deeply engaged in this obedience sacrifice of Christ to his heavenly Father.
And as for this daily bread, for which we pray in the Our Father, we know that this is a lasting gift to us for our nourishment to help us endure any trial. Or as St. Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (II Cor 11:26).
In memory of him, in memory of his death, that is what Jesus asked us to do with his body and blood. This is a way for us to enter fully into the very sacrifice of his life, a sacrifice Jesus anticipated that night he shared his body and blood with the apostles and with us. So, this food is not some kind of picnic or hors d’oeuvres. Rather, this is the very bread of life, as Jesus tells us in John’s Gospel (chapter 6). Yet, this bread of life is only gained by a linkage to the cross. All of us should be fully aware of both the death and the life of the Lord we consume when we approach this most Holy Communion. Have a very blessed Feast of Corpus Christi!
Assuring you of my prayers, I am sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop of Lansing
P.S. You are invited to join in praying a novena for Reverends Miguel Colunga-Santoyo, Mark Martin and Russell Ward, LC, in preparation for their ordination to the sacred priesthood on June 12, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Click on the image below to find out more:
The French writer Léon Bloy (1846 – 1917) once wrote: “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” If that is true then "why is it true?" And, if so, "how do we become saints?"
Those are just two of the questions put in this podcast to the popular Catholic speaker and writer, Matthew Leonard, who recently led a retreat for the staff of the Diocese of Lansing Curia on "
the Science of Sainthood
". Asking the questions is David Kerr, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Lansing.
Of your charity, please pray for Diocese of Lansing seminarian Josh Bauer who is currently studying for the sacred priesthood at Saint John Vianney College Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Josh hails from the parish of Saint Elizabeth in Tecumseh. Here Josh recounts how his path to seminary began with an unexpected and, initially, unwanted response from the Good Lord in prayer.
This week's Realign Resources for Mission update comes from Deacon Jim Kasprzak, Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Lansing, pictured below, who explores the proposition of the Realign Resources for Mission that:
"A parish in the Diocese of Lansing
and corporal works
of mercy in local communities."
read what Deacon
has to say.
Also, below, is a video update for this week from Deacon Devon Wolfe of Saint Mary Magdalen Parish in Brighton and a member of the Realign Resources for Mission committee.
This week saw the Bishop's Year of the Bible reach Chapter 5 of the Book of Genesis. Genesis is known for its ten genealogies, and Chapter 5 is a lengthy one that takes us from Adam through Seth’s line to Noah. So what does all this mean to us in the present day? To help explain, here's Jeremy Priest, Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Lansing.
Meet Rose Vanaman of Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Otisville. Five years ago, Rose co-founded a daily prayer group in the parish. Five years on and it has now become a hub of parish and community support ... and it all grew from from the simple desire to restore the regular prayer of the Holy Rosary in the parish. God bless you Rose!
Keep in touch with Bishop Boyea and the Diocese of Lansing at:
on Friday, June 4 at 5:34PM