Reflections on the most Holy Mass in preparation for the Eucharistic congress Quebec City 2008

Eucharistic Reflection # 12

May, 2008

by Peter Thompson

The Eucharist a mystery to be lived.

Post communion:

As we return to our places following our reception of the Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Communion it is well for us to reflect upon who we have received. It is the glorified Lord himself. Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis #50 states: furthermore the precious time of thanksgiving after communion should not be neglected: besides the singing of an appropriate hymn, it can also be most helpful to remain recollected in silence.

In our society we have a hard time being silent. We are surrounded by noise and feel uncomfortable with silence. We need to relearn what it is to contemplate in the quietness of our soul the beauty of Christ living within us. To thank him with all my heart for his love for me in coming to me. To humbly implore him to be with me and to guide me so that I can remain faithful to him and safe in his loving protection throughout the day. This can be a moment of intense prayer, for all too quickly we must return to our daily lives in the world that surrounds us. Here the Church does not lay down any specific posture for us following our communion. We can either kneel, sit or stand.

We now stand together as the priest invites us with the words." Let us pray".

This is not the time to leave! The Mass is not yet over. Sadly in many parishes it seems that the back pews empty out at this point. One priest put it rather succinctly when he noticed this practice. He reminded us that the first person who left Mass early was Judas Iscariot at the last Supper!!!

Now comes the priestly blessing and dismissal:

Our response; Thanks be to God.
Not a thank you that Mass is over and I have done my duty but truly thanking God for the gift of himself to us. His love and mercy that he has poured out upon us and the strength he has given us to remain faithful and true to his commands.

Something to remember is that we are still in the sanctuary in the presence of the living God, now hidden in the tabernacle. There are those who wish to continue for a time in prayer and thanksgiving so we need to be sensitive to others and hold back our desire to make loud conversation until we are out of the main body of the Church.

Once again we genuflect towards the tabernacle we are as it were saying goodbye to the Lord until we return. Blessing ourselves with Holy Water we once again are reminded of our Baptism and that we now go forth to fulfill our Baptism in making Christ known and present to the world around us.

It is the Lord's day, Sunday we must still remember that this day is holy unto the Lord and we are to refrain from servile works. Here I would like to quote from Sacramentum caritatis #73 Sunday thus appears as the primordial holy day, when all believers, wherever they are found, can become heralds and guardians of the true meaning of time. It gives rise to the Christian meaning of life and a new way of experiencing time, relationships, work, life and death. On the Lord's day, then it is fitting that Church groups should organize, around Sunday Mass, the activities of the Christian community" social gatherings, programmes for the faith formation of children, young people and adults, pilgrimages, charitable works, and different moments of prayer. For the sake of these important values - while recognizing that Saturday evening, beginning with First vespers, is already a part of Sunday and a time when the Sunday obligation can be fulfilled - we need to remember that it is Sunday itself that is meant to be kept holy, lest it end up as a day "empty of God".

Other reading on keeping the Sunday holy can be found in Pope John Paul II apostolic letter, Dies Domini. See also Catechism of the Catholic Church #2042 /2184-88 /2194-95.

Do we go forth rejoicing and with loving hearts or do we fall again so quickly even in the parking lot when we cannot extricate our vehicle and are tempted to impatience or worse!

We are to bring Christ to the nations, but let us begin in our own homes serving one another joyfully. We are to bring Christ into our work places transforming society from within. Pope Paul VI speaks of this in his Encyclical letter Evangelii Nuntiandi.(Evangelization in the modern world). Reminding us that we as the laity permeate every strata of society and are to transform it from within.

We become Christ to others. Benedict XVI in Sacramentum caritatis #70 states. It is not the eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we are mysteriously transformed by it. Christ nourishes us by uniting us to himself;" he draws us into himself."

So that we can be his witnesses. Let us earnestly seek the Lord's prompting as he desires to use us in a multitude of ways through corporeal and spiritual works of mercy to a world desperate for God's love and mercy.

I am reminded of the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila where she reminds us that Christ has no body now but yours. No hands and feet on earth but yours. Yes we are the hands feet and eyes of Christ and he desires to work through us to the glory of God the Father.