Tag Archives: Eucharist

Corpus Christi: Holy Communion is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. Catholic Inspiration

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At every Mass the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, what we call the Real Presence. In his teaching to the disciples, the Lord defines and commands us to receive him in Holy Communion. In light of the past year with the pandemic, we have discovered just how crucial it is for us to carry out this command of Christ.

Mass Readings – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Study, Pray, Serve: The Body and Blood of Christ

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On this feast of the Body and Blood of the Christ (Corpus Christi), let’s take a look at some of the themes that surface in the readings.

1st Reading – Exodus 24:3-8

  • The people affirm that they will “do everything that the Lord has told us.”
  • Moses sprinkles the people with the blood of the sacrifice to show their covenant with God.

Psalm – 116:12-13,15-16,17-18

  • “I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.”
  • We are the Lord’s servants, and we make our vows to God.

2nd Reading – Hebrews 9:11-15

  • Jesus Christ offers his blood as the sacrifice that cleanses us.
  • Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, made possible by his saving death.

Gospel – Mark 14:12-16,22-26

  • Jesus directs his disciples to prepare the Passover meal.
  • Jesus offers his Body and Blood as a new covenant.

Mass Readings – The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Daily Mass: A mystical reflection on Holy Communion. Catholic Inspiration

Jesus offers a mystical reflection on his Flesh and Blood, the true food and drink that bring us eternal life.

Mass Readings – Friday of the 3rd Week of Easter

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


Holy Week

Holy Week

Pastoral Note: This post was originally given on April 12, 2014.  I share it once again in the hope that all of us will enter more fully into the gift of this sacred time.  Fr. Andrew

Study:  Recall a time in your life when you experienced death and new life.  Where did you find the strength?  Who helped you through this time?

Pray:  Spend some time reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus this week.  Read Mark 14-16; Matthew 26-28; Luke 22-24; and John 18-21.  Take in as many prayer opportunities as possible in your parish.

Serve:  Who in your life is dealing with life and death issues right now?  How might you be present to them to offer help, comfort, or strength?

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We enter into the heart of the Christian mystery: Holy Week offers us a time to pause, reflect, and pray as the Church ponders on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This mystery, often called the Paschal Mystery, recalls us to the saving work of the Lord.  His death frees of from the burdens of sin and death, and his resurrection opens for us the path to eternal life.  This mystery is profoundly experienced over the Triduum – the 3 Great Days:

  • Holy Thursday – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper
  • Good Friday – the Passion of the Christ
  • Easter (Vigil/Day) – the Resurrection of the Lord

On Holy Thursday we find ourselves in Jerusalem, eating with the disciples at the Lord’s Supper and feeling awkward as he washes their feet – wondering how we would react if he did that for us.  We might identify with Peter or Judas – especially when we consider the times we have willingly betrayed or turned our back on the Lord.

On Good Friday we experience the physical pain, emotional abandonment, and personal humiliation on the path to Calvary (also called Golgotha or Skull Place) and look on with horror at the cruel death of Jesus.  We might also consider the times we have helped others – as Simon did when he was forced to carry the Cross of Christ.    And then we stand in profound sorrow with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, helpless as the innocent suffer injustice.

On Easter we wait in vigil and rise early in the morning with Mary Magdalen, only to find to our wonder and joy that the tomb is empty:  Christ is alive!  Our world, like that of the apostles, is changed forever as we experience new hope and life.

A word to the wise – we get out of Holy Week what we put into it.  Here are some simple ways for an incredible experience.

  • Make church services a top priority – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter (Vigil or Day).
  • Take time to read and reflect on the scriptures (see at the top under “Pray”).
  • Make Holy Thursday an opportunity to offer a special act of service or kindness to another.
  • Make Good Friday fasting extra special with a gift to a particular charity that helps the poor.
  • Make Easter a time of gratitude – take a quiet moment to count our blessings and thank the Lord.
  • Find some time throughout this week to tell the people in our lives how much we love them.

May this be a time for all of us to grow closer to the Lord and one another.

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Walking with the Lord in Holy Week (March 9-12, 2015 – Our Lady of the Valley – Green Valley, AZ) This parish mission takes the listener on a journey with Christ – from his entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper, his Passion, and his Resurrection.

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Catholic Inspiration Archives

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Lenten podcast resources from Catholic Inspiration

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There are many ways to get the most out of Lent.  This gift that the Church celebrates every year provides an opportunity for spiritual renewal.  Below you will find a short summary of some of the Homilies, Presentations and Retreats that I have offered over the last couple of years with themes that might speak to your own Lenten journey.  Feel free to try any of these podcasts; if they are helpful, you are welcome to share them with others.  After all, the purpose of the season is to draw our hearts to Jesus Christ!

Homilies

Preparing for Lent (13 Minutes) – This homily podcast offers some general helpful hints to consider as you get ready to enter into the season as a whole.  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on March 2, 2013.

Ash Wednesday (4 Minutes) – This short homily shows how messy, dirty, grimy ashes on the outside remind us of the messy, dirty, grimy reality of sin in our hearts.  As we repent and believe in the Gospel, may we call upon the Lord to wash us clean with the grace of Jesus Christ.  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on Feb. 18, 2015.  

Holy Thursday (8 Minutes) – At the Last Supper Jesus teaches and commands his disciples to receive his Body & Blood and give your life in service to others.  In our reception of Holy Communion may we be strengthened and renewed to offer our lives, following the example of Christ.  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 2, 2015.

Good Friday (10 Minutes) – The Cross of Christ – ugly, filthy with the blood of countless victims, jagged, and splintered – becomes the sign of the depth and breadth of agony Jesus endured.  As he embraces his suffering, the Cross becomes a bridge whereby he unites with all humanity, meeting us in our most profound moments of weakness and sin, and gives us hope through his triumph over death.  We must understand the Cross in the light of Easter joy: For if we only focus on the Cross then we have no hope – life becomes dark and filled with despair; and if we only focus on Easter joy then we have no respect for the gift of the Lord’s Passion – we do not value the price He paid for our salvation. Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 3, 2015.

Easter (7 Minutes) – Their lives were changed; the sorrow cast from the shadow of the Cross is now transformed by resurrection glory…He’s alive!  The grace of Jesus Christ inspired the disciples to go out to the world – carrying their crosses – with the power the Lord’s triumph.  Christ brings this transformation to us today; his power continues to work in the world.  May we open our hearts to the resurrection…and be transformed!  Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 5, 2015.

General Presentations

Personal Prayer: Making it Real (46 Minutes) – How do we make our personal prayer real?  This homily podcast highlights practical tips that bring power and meaning to our personal prayer. Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI on April 11, 2015.

Personal Healing & Renewal (44 Minutes) – The presentation explores a four step process of personal healing and renewal: Acknowledgement; Diagnosis; Prescription; and Follow through.  By examining four quadrants of human life (physical, intellectual, relational, spiritual) this presentation guides the listener toward personal growth in practical ways. Given to the Northern Waters Parish Nurse Group on October 9, 2015.

Christ Renews Our Lives! (31 Minutes) – This talk was presented to Confirmation students from the Cathedral and St. Francis Xavier parishes. Note these four points: God made us to be united with Him; Sin destroys our relationships with God and one another; Christ restores the relationship through his life, death, and resurrection; Each of us can choose to accept the gift of Christ and live as his disciple. Given at the Cathedral of Christ the King on November 11, 2015.

Extraordinary Life! (36 Minutes) – This “Theology on Tap” presentation asks some big questions:  Are you looking for some practical ways to transform your life?  Do you long for something special, filled with power, purpose, and meaning?  Fr. Andrew looks at 3 areas (Self, Others, God) and applies them to the ordinary and routine elements of daily life. Given at VIP in Superior, WI on October 22, 2015.

Prayer: Practical Pointers to Grow Closer to God (30 Minutes) – This “Theology on Tap” reflection offers some practical ways to strengthen your prayer life and grow closer to God.  Some topics include: Time, Space, Location, and Preparation; Dealing with Distraction; Using resources – including Scripture and Devotionals; Finding what works for you.  Given at Dubh Linh’s Pub in Duluth, MN on November 11, 2013.

Retreats

Knights of Columbus Men’s Retreat (September 13, 2014 – St. Joseph Church – Hayward, WI)  This Catholic Men’s Retreat explores three ways we draw near to Jesus Christ and one another: study, prayer, and service.

Eucharist (March 8, 2014 – St. Dominic Church – Frederic, WI) This parish retreat focuses on Eucharist as the central expression of our Catholic faith.

Christian in a Changing World (February 22-24, 2014 – Cathedral of Christ the King – Superior, WI) This parish mission looks at three key concepts: Our direction in life; our spiritual fitness; putting our faith into practice.

Walking with the Lord in Holy Week (March 9-12, 2015 – Our Lady of the Valley – Green Valley, AZ) This parish mission takes the listener on a journey with Christ – from his entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper, his Passion, and his Resurrection.

May this Lent be filled with grace and power – God bless you!

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18th Sunday of the Year: Come to the Feast! Catholic Inspiration

The prophet Isaiah, the Psalmist and the Gospel of Matthew all proclaim how the Lord feeds us with wholesome abundance. May our feasting – at our tables at home and the Table of the Lord – nourish us in this life in preparation for the Great Feast in Heaven.

Mass Readings – 18th Sunday of the Year


18th Sunday of the Year: The miracle of fishes and loaves.

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Study:  Where in my life have I experienced God’s abundant grace?  Where and when have I encountered a miracle?

Pray:  Jesus met the people in their needs; perhaps we might come to the Lord with our concerns and fears.

Serve:  How might we be an instrument of grace for another today?  Has the Lord put someone in our life right now to serve?

18th Sunday of the Year Readings

The Gospel this week offers a familiar story that many of us have heard on numerous occasions.  The miracle of the fishes and loaves offers a rich opportunity to reflect on a variety of themes that are central to the Christian disciple.

In order to do this, let’s take a step-by-step review of this story:

1.  Jesus hears of the death of John the Baptist
2.  Jesus seeks solitude in a deserted place
3.  The crowds eagerly seek Jesus
4.  Jesus sees the crowds and pities them
5.  Jesus cures their sick
6.  The people are hungry and far from home
7.  The disciples tell Jesus to send the people away
8.  Jesus tells the disciples to feed the people
9.  The disciples say there is only 5 loaves & 2 fish
10.  Jesus TAKES, BLESSES, BREAKS, GIVES
11.  There is an abundance (leftovers of food!)

Here are a few observations:

1.  Jesus’ heart is moved with sorrow for the death of John the Baptist.  Perhaps he is considering his own approaching death, and he seeks some quiet personal time.  Yet when the crowds crush in upon him, the Lord pities and responds to their needs.  It is the generous and loving heart of Jesus that is worthy of reflection and observation here.

2.  Jesus observes that many people are sick, and the Lord takes the time to heal their bodies.

3.  The people have been with Jesus all day.  They are far from home, and they have not eaten.  While the disciples want the Lord to send them away, Jesus commands them to feed the people; when they use the limited food supply as their excuse, Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives them an abundance.  Thus, Jesus cares for the people – body and soul in a way that is truly overwhelming.

4.  The same verbs of taking, blessing, breaking, and giving are used to describe the Lord at the Last Supper.  This feeding miracle is just another form of Eucharist!

Jesus moves beyond his own personal concerns to love, respond, and serve others.  The Lord cares for both the physical and spiritual needs of people in a generous way.  May we follow his example in our own lives of service and ministry.

Note: This post was first published on July 29, 2014.


Corpus Christi: The gift of Holy Communion. Catholic Inspiration

As our churches reopen from COVID-19, the gift of the Body and Blood of the Lord comes into clear focus. Christ feeds us with this precious Holy Communion, empowering us for service in the world.

Mass Readings – The Body and Blood of Christ

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Corpus Christi – The Body and Blood of Christ

Last Supper

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.

Mass Readings – The Body and Blood of Christ

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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Catholic Inspiration Archive

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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.


Monday Conversation: The power of Holy Communion in our lives. Catholic Inspiration

Fr. Andrew and Dan Tracy on his 1st Communion – May 3, 1998.

Fr. Andrew and Dan Tracy recall some powerful memories that took place over twenty years ago, showing how our connections in sacred and secular ways can have profound and lasting effects in our Catholic faith…especially when we speak about the crucial role of Mass and receiving the Eucharist.

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