Friday, December 3, 2010

Sanctus {Archbishop J Peter Sartain}

After the homily, the prayers of the faithful (general intercessions) were read (and signed) in seven different languages, representing the variety of cultures in our local Churches.  Then the gifts of bread and wine were brought forward by three of Archbishop Sartain's sisters. 
And then, Archbishop Sartain (together with 24 archbishops and bishops, over 200 priests, and three cardinals) by the power of the Holy Spirit, changed the bread and wine into the bread of life!
Yes, during the consecration on the altar, the bread and wine were transformed into the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ!   (No, Archbishop Sartain didn't re-sacrifice Christ as I have heard is sometimes erroneously taught, but rather the sacrifice of Christ was re-presented for us.) This Eucharistic celebration, the source and summit of our lives, and the center of every Mass comes to us from the apostles, given to them by Jesus, as does the succession of bishops as shepherds for His Church.
Reading the writings of the Church Fathers, the first Christians (Catholics) who transmitted the faith, we know that the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist was held by the apostles and those who followed them.  We also know that the Eucharist and the Mass were central to their faith:
Ignatius of Antioch:
“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]). 
“Far be it from me to speak adversely of any of these clergy who, in succession from the apostles, confect by their sacred word the Body of Christ and through whose efforts also it is that we are Christians” (Letters 14:8 [A.D. 396]).

Jesus knew that the truth He revealed about the Eucharist would be unbearable for some. And He knew that his disciples were murmuring about His words: "For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink."  ~John 6:55
However, Jesus taught them that no one can come to Him (believe His teaching, eat His flesh, drink His blood in the Eucharist) without being given the gift of faith by God:

"But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.  And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."  As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.    ~John 6:64-66
I am extremely grateful for the gift of faith given to me by God through my parents (grandparents, Godparents, teachers, priests).  I cannot imagine my life without the Eucharist.  Celebrating the Eucharist with over 2,000 Catholics (and especially my husband and children) at St. James Cathedral on the occasion of the Installation of our new Archbishop Sartain was truly a highlight of this year!

I do understand that not all Christians will believe this teaching on the Eucharist. Jesus prepared us for this division, and gives us the grace to love people right where they're at and to accept and respect each person on his own faith journey.  I pray that your faith journey will continue to lead you closer to Christ... and that you will be open to receiving Him in whatever way He wishes to reveal Himself to you!
After the Mass of Installation, we were all invited to attend a reception welcoming our new Archbishop!
to be continued!

“The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them. The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. “Do you also wish to leave Me?”: The Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only He has ‘the words of Eternal Life’ and that to receive in faith the gift of His Eucharist is to receive the Lord Himself.” (Catechism Catholic Church, #1336)

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