The Book of Hebrews proclaims the power of the precious Blood of Christ, poured out for the salvation of our souls and the cleansing of the world.
Tag Archives: Blood of Christ
Study: Reflect on the Mass. What parts do you find most helpful?
Pray: Consider making a list of prayer needs for your use at Mass. Keep this list near you for reference when you go to Church.
Serve: Perhaps you know others who have been away from Mass for awhile. Consider making the effort to invite them to join you at Mass.
The celebration of the Eucharist is the highest form of Christian prayer. Jesus defines the bread and wine and his body and blood, and then he commands his disciples to “take and eat…take and drink” in his memory. Besides the readings we will hear at Mass, some other crucial Scripture passages testify to this essential element of our faith:
- Matthew 26:26-29
- Mark 14:22-26
- Luke 22: 14-23
- John 6:51-58
- 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
What happens when we go to Mass? What do we encounter when we open our hearts to this hour long prayer? Here are few key points:
- We hear a good selection of the Word of God
- We receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion
- We unite in prayer with others
- We pray for the sick, those who have died, and our special needs
- We have a few moments for silence and reflection
Of course in our fast paced, entertain-me-so-I-won’t-be-bored world, we can look upon the central prayer of the Church and wonder why the Mass doesn’t “get modern.” The reality is that the Mass continues to adapt to the culture and times. The real question is this: Do I come to the Mass with an open heart to encounter the Lord and his disciples? Do I come with a focus to offer my life to be renewed by Christ?
Here are seven ideas for getting the most out of Mass:
- Read the Sunday Scriptures ahead of time. This way you can get a sense of the key themes and be better prepared to follow the homily.
- Come prepared to pray. This seems obvious, but many people often don’t come with their “list” of intentions and needs. Take some time before Mass to consider who or what in your life could use a prayer.
- Pray before Mass starts. Sometimes we can rush into church, drop into a pew, and try to follow along with the Mass. Give yourself 5-10 minutes to reflect on the past week, look to the next, and ask the Lord for guidance and strength. It really helps!
- Receive Holy Communion with heightened awareness. This is Jesus Christ who offered his life on a Cross for the salvation of our souls. It’s his blood that was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins. Make that moment of receiving Him intentional and reverent; let the “Amen” come from your heart!
- Pray after receiving Holy Communion. You have just received the Lord Jesus into your body – you have become a living Tabernacle – there is no better time to offer the deepest, most important issues on your plate to the one who loves you.
- Consider one takeaway that you experienced from every Mass. Name one thing (just one is perfectly fine) that struck you at every Mass. Perhaps it was a point in the homily, a line from a hymn, someone you prayed for, something you experienced, or an insight that came to you in silence. By naming one takeaway you actively participate in the prayer and engage your faith as you live your life.
- Use a resource to get the most out of Mass. Some people like a devotional, missal, or prayer booklet – something that can be used both in and out of church. Others prefer an online resource where they can follow up at a website, video, or podcast. Still others favor their smartphones for handheld resources that they can take anywhere. Find what works for you…the only true measure is the resource that helps you engage your faith each and every day.
Jesus Christ gives us the gift of himself in every Mass. He defines what we do and commanded us to do it. Every time we come to Mass we encounter the Lord and allow his grace to transform our lives. May his Body strengthen our bodies; may his Blood flow through our veins.
After all, as his disciples, we have his work to do.
The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci; 1494-1499, tempera on gesso, pitch and mastic, 460 cm x 880 cm, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy.
Note: This blog was originally published on June 2, 2015.
The Eucharist was defined and commanded by the Lord so that his disciples would be strengthened with his Body and Blood to face the challenges of life. May we receive Jesus Christ through our participation at Mass with fervent desire!
Every Mass offers us the miracle of an encounter with Jesus Christ. As we draw near to the altar to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, may we strive to understand WHAT we are doing and WHY we are doing it!
This homily takes a practical look at answering three questions:
- What is the Eucharist?
- What happens at every Mass?
- What are some ways to get the most out of Mass?
Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross reveals the value God places on human life and inspires us to share our lives as an offering back to God.
The Book of Hebrews proclaims that we are cleansed by the blood of Christ – which fills us with grace to live each day as a precious and holy gift.
Family dinners – be they big or small – touch our hearts in a number of ways:
- Nourish our bodies with wholesome, plentiful food
- Unite us together, setting aside our differences for a moment of peace
- Empower our lives, for service in the world
The same is true when we come to the Lord’s table at every Mass. We are nourished with Christ’s Body & Blood. We are united as the People of God – as brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends. We are empowered to go forth, touching the hearts of those we meet with the grace and peace of Jesus Christ.
May our reception of Holy Communion feed our souls, foster unity, and empower us to live our lives for the Lord!
Study: What are some of the things that make a dinner special for you? What makes it a feast?
Pray: Offer a prayer for those who go hungry this day – either because they lack food or the companionship to share it.
Serve: Is there someone you know with whom you could share a meal? How might you make your meal a feast with others?
Growing up in a large Italian-American family, big dinners were a common occurrence. The usual suspects like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving were typical; but family gatherings (with all the adults talking and the kids talking louder) provided numerous opportunities for people to gather and make the simple task of taking nourishment a beautiful experience for body, mind, heart, and soul.
Tables were set, special foods chosen, delicacies prepared in advance…all these steps to make the dinner something special, something extraordinary.
They were feasts.
Indeed, whenever we take the time and effort to make dining an experience, we create opportunities that touch us on multiple levels. Good food is augmented by delightful conversation, enlivened with beauty, and woven together with human hopes and dreams. A feast is not just an abundance of food; it is a rich expression of God’s goodness working through others to nourish our lives in profound ways.
All of the readings point to different ways the Lord sustains our lives:
- Wisdom sets a rich table, calling us to abandon foolishness to follow her
- We “taste and see the goodness of the Lord” in the psalm response
- Ephesians invites us to be filled with the Spirit, living upright lives
- Jesus commands us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, that we might have eternal life
Every Mass provides us with the opportunity to draw near the altar and be renewed through our reception of Holy Communion. Christ sets the table for us, inviting us to turn away from destructive and harmful forces, so that we might receive the grace we need to continue on the journey of life.
Come to the Feast!
Study: Reflect on the last time you received Holy Communion. Were you attentive to the great gift of Jesus Christ – body & blood, soul & divinity – that you received?
Pray: The next time you are at Mass, take a moment to prepare yourself to receive the Lord with an open heart.
Serve: Communion gives us strength to do the Lord’s work; who in my life could use a helping hand today?
I love pasta. I love to cook it; I love to eat it; and I can spend hours talking with family members and friends in order to learn more about how different sauces and seasonings affect flavor and taste.
In addition, I enjoy the numerous shapes and styles of pasta. Spaghetti is a timeless classic, but there is also vermicelli, cappelini, fettuccine, conchiglie, tagliarini, cappelletti, tortellini, ravioli, rigatoni, ziti, m0staccioli, farfalle, cannelloni, campanelle, lasagna, penne rigate…….!
The list goes on and on in an immense and diverse variety of forms. Different sauces work better with particular shapes, and cooking styles differ from one pasta to another.
And yet with all of this variety, pasta is still a very simple food. While it has a place of honor in Italian cooking (did I mention I am Italian?), it can be found in most cultures – each sporting unique ways to prepare this basic form.
Food is an essential need in all life. We need food to survive physically, yet food is more than just sustenance. When people gather to eat, food often becomes the means to draw others into conversation, companionship, and celebration. Thus, food can nourish the body and the soul.
Jesus knew this simple fact. He fed people when they were hungry (Mt 14:13-21, Mk 6:30-44, Lk 9:10-17, Jn 6:1-15, Mt 15:32-39, Mk 8:1-10). The Lord met this basic need repeatedly, helping people to be physically sustained by giving them bread to eat.
Yet Jesus makes an astonishing claim. He says that he is the living bread (Jn 6:51). Thus, Jesus not only gives the people food, but he tells them that he is the food they need for eternal life. This claim is underscored in the Gospel today, and it is supported by the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (Mt 26:17-29, Mk 14:12-25, Lk 22:7-20, and 1 Cor 11:17-34).
Every time we gather for Mass we follow the Lord’s command to take bread and wine and in His name receive His Body and Blood. The Lord becomes food for us that we might have life in this world and in the next. As we receive Communion may we recognize that the Lord Jesus is near, offering us his very self that we might have the food of eternal life.