Tag Archives: Holy Communion

20th Sunday of the Year: You are what you eat. Catholic Inspiration

Jesus states that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood to have eternal life.  May our reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion nourish our souls as the Lord renews us with his grace.

Mass Readings – 20th Sunday of the Year

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Catholic Inspiration Archives


20th Sunday of the Year: God prepares a feast for us!

thanksgiving rehearsal dinner

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?

Mass Readings – 20th Sunday of the Year

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!

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Note: This post was first published on August 10, 2015.


18th Sunday of the Year: Did you eat yet? Catholic Inspiration

Like water and air, we require food to survive.  Our physical needs point to similar spiritual nourishment, and Jesus responds by telling us that he is the Bread of Life.  May we hunger to receive the Lord regularly in the sacrament of Holy Communion!

Mass Readings – 18th Sunday of the Year

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


18th Sunday of the Year: Christ is the bread of life

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Study:  Reflect on a time at Mass that profoundly spoke to your heart.  What stood out?

Pray:  Prepare your heart for your next Holy Communion.  What do you need to bring to Jesus Christ?

Serve:  Is there someone who you can encourage to return to Mass?  Can you help them draw near to the table of the Lord?

Mass Readings – 18th Sunday of the Year

Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”   John 6:35

We know that our bodies need food to sustain life; what we discover today is that our souls need spiritual food to sustain eternal life.  Where do we find this bread from Heaven?  Jesus Christ!

Have you ever experienced that feeling when you are exhausted?  Out of gas?  Wrung out?  It is often a sign that we require rest and nourishment; we come to the table to be fed.

The same is true with our souls.  There are times when we are intellectually drained, feeling lost and confused, doubting ourselves and uncertain about our next decision.  We can feel crushed, worn out by the demands of life and overwhelmed by the challenges that confront us.

What we require is a different type of nourishment – we look to a Person who loves us, understands us, and provides us with the grace and strength, the peace and perspective, to be renewed for the next step on our journey.  Christ feeds us with his Body & Blood, so that we might become more fully his disciples; we come to the altar to be fed.

What are you hungry for today?  What challenges do you face?  May we draw near to the Lord in Holy Communion and allow his love to transform our lives – for this world and for the world to come.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: this blog was originally published on July 27, 2015.


17th Sunday of the Year: Come to the Table

Study:  Recall a time when you experienced real hunger.  What was it like?

Pray:  What are you hungry for in your spiritual life?  Ask the Lord to feed your soul.

Serve:  Consider helping out a food pantry or location that serves meals to those in need.  How can you help alleviate hunger around the world?

Mass Readings – 17th Sunday of the Year

The word hunger means many things to different groups of people:

  • You have the “munchies” and want to graze on snack foods
  • You hanker for something…but you are not sure what it is
  • Your stomach is growling and you want to eat
  • Your blood sugar is dropping and you know you need to eat
  • You have missed a couple of meals and you are ravenous
  • You have not eaten in days…and you understand starvation

At it’s most basic level, hunger means that we recognize our need for food to keep our bodies going.  While most of us have no awareness of famine, we all have the daily experience of the need to eat.  Food is necessary for life, and the quality of the food we eat enhances (or detracts) from the quality of our lives.

The same concept applies to our spiritual lives as well.  We certainly need a level of physical health to sustain our spiritual lives, but we also require spiritual sustenance to strengthen our souls and renew our hearts.

Jesus knew this.  The people coming to him were hungry – body and soul – and his teaching, feeding, and Eucharist sustained them.  What’s more, every time we come to the altar we participate in the banquet of his grace.  We continue to receive – Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity – the spiritual food we need to flourish.

Practically, when we come to the table may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of nutritious food; when we come to the altar may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of Christ.  In both cases, the hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This blog was first published on July 21, 2015.


Corpus Christi: Receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Catholic Inspiration

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!

Mass Readings – The Body and Blood of Christ

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Corpus Christi

Última_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5

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 Solemnity of the Most Holy 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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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 podcast was originally published on June 2, 2015.