17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
July 26, 2009
July 26, 2009
17th Sunday of the year
by Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
You may remember that a month ago I asked you the question: Why are you here? And in part, at least, I got to answer the question. Well today I would like to carry that homily to a kind of completion.
For today we begin the Bread of life discourse that goes on for 5 weeks, all from the Gospel of John.
So if we reflect on today's Gospel we will see the infinite power to multiply bread in order to feed hungry men and women. There is an obvious reference to the Last Supper and the Holy Eucharist, since everything in the Old Testament points to its fulfillment in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. These events recorded in the Bible help our Faith. For, if God can multiply bread at will, so that five loaves feed five thousand people with twelve baskets full left over, He can also change bread and wine into His own Body and Blood.
We see in today's Gospel that the Lord Jesus first taught the crowds and then fed them. Something similar takes place in the Mass, which is a liturgical re-presenting of what Jesus did at the Last Supper. So the Mass has two main or basic parts—the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It may be helpful to reflect for a few minutes on how the Mass is structured.
After the introductory and penitential rite, there comes next what is called the Liturgy of the Word. For Sunday Mass, the first reading is usually from the Old Testament and it relates closely to the Gospel. It is followed by the responsorial psalm, which can be recited or sung. The second reading we usually hear from St. Paul. The Gospel reading follows and is the high point of all the readings, so much so that the Deacon must ask the priest for a blessing before proclaiming the Gospel. And the people stand, in a real sense of a coming to attention as this is important.
Following the Gospel a homily provides reflections on the implications and meaning of the readings, especially of the Gospel.
In the readings and the homily God speaks to us, for when we read the Bible God is speaking to us; when we pray we speak to Him in words of adoration, thanksgiving, satisfaction and petition. In the Liturgy we respond to God's word with the prayers of the faithful and especially with our praying of the Creed, because there we give expression to our Faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the Church, in the Resurrection and in Eternal Life.
We can well see then, how the Word prepares us for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which the Sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary two thousand years ago is made present in a miraculous and mysterious way. The Liturgy of the Eucharist has the following parts; the procession of the gifts of the little we have to offer. Then the preparation of the gifts, the offertory, the Eucharistic Prayer — at whose heart is the double consecration of the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Christ—the communion of the priest and the faithful, and the conclusion and dismissal of the congregation.
I really need to share with you a little more detail; The Eucharistic Prayer begins with the Preface; next the Epiclesis, (the imposition of hands) in which the priest invokes God's power and asks that the gifts may be Consecrated or changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Who is the source of salvation for those who partake of It. The actual Consecration takes place next by using the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, for he told us to do this in memory of Him. The next prayers recall the Lords Death, Resurrection and Ascension, and we offer to God in Thanksgiving "this Holy and Living Sacrifice." The Eucharistic Prayer concludes with the final Doxology or hymn of praise and a resounding "Amen."
The Communion Rite includes the Lord's Prayer, the exchange of peace and then the receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. In Communion Christ comes to us in His substantial, real presence, under the forms of bread and wine. To make us a part of Himself. After a blessing from the priest and dismissal by the Deacon we are sent out into the world to live what we have received. In Thanksgiving and Praise of God. How can I instill in your hearts the reality, that nothing is happening in our world that is more important to Salvation then the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "NOTHING"
'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.
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