Holy Hour Reflection: Eucharist: "Go! You Are Sent!"
by Diocese of Des Moines | April 12, 2021
By Bishop Joseph Charron, C.PP.S.
Part 4 of his pastoral letter
Recognizing the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament moves us and helps us to recognize the presence of the Lord in all aspects of our daily lives. While Christ is especially present in the Eucharist, he is also present in our brothers and sisters. This presence also requires reverence and respect that gives rise to action-for-others on the part of those who receive the Holy Eucharist.
In St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians we are reminded that when we eat and drink the body and blood of the Lord, we proclaim his death until he returns. This proclamation is not only the words our faith-filled hearts move us to say but motivate our actions to reflect our faith as well. St. Paul reminds us that our actions do speak louder than our words.
Our amen at Communion is not only a proclamation of faith in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Our amen is also a declaration of intent – to go and do as Jesus did – even to the extreme sacrifice of our lives. But doing as Jesus did involves an intimate knowledge of him. The Church helps us in this through her teachings – helping us to understand how Jesus would act in every aspect of our lives and in our relationships with our sisters and brothers.
This requires us to learn the teachings of our faith. We believe and proclaim our faith in Jesus and his death and resurrection. But what would Jesus teach about war in the present day, or about stem cell research? The Church always stands ready to help us to know what is right and true. It is our responsibility to know what the Church teaches and act accordingly. We did not learn everything there is to know about our faith as children. Growth in faith should be a life-long endeavor!
This important knowledge of the teachings of the Church then leads us to action. As Jesus modeled for us, our actions do make a difference. He established the Kingdom of God with his coming and we are called to cooperate with him in transforming not only ourselves but the world as well.
This means that we commit ourselves to respect all life and uphold the dignity of every human person. We are called to live in love and harmony with our family and members of our community. Striving to protect and assist others, particularly the poor and those in need, is among our responsibilities. Caring for God's creation which he entrusted to us is our response to His call to be good stewards.
Growing in our faith and in the experience of the mystery of the Eucharist is a "two-edged sword." Jesus invites us to an intimate relationship with him but also to a better relationship with all people. Faith that is solely individual misses the necessary part of living in community.
One last example for your consideration: Some Christians do not believe as we do about the Eucharist. This difference of belief and practice has caused serious division for the last 500 years. As Catholics we should not only pray for a return to unity but also do what we can to work toward it. In the garden the night before his death Jesus prayed for his disciples, "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. (Jn. 17:20-21)"
And so, my brothers and sisters, join me in this year of growing in our faith. Join me in a greater love and devotion of the Eucharist. Let each of us learn more and experience more about the Eucharist.
Strengthened and renewed by the sacrifice and presence of Jesus, may we become more ardent disciples of the one who gave his life that we might have life!
Let us above all celebrate this Year of the Eucharist with sincere gratitude and hope-filled joy!
- Do I seek an intimate knowledge of Jesus, and the teachings of the Church, so that I may do as Jesus does?
- What am I articulating when I say amen before receiving Jesus? Am I articulating my intention to go and do as Jesus did, “even to the extreme sacrifice of [my life]”?
- That through our Eucharistic Renewal, we may come to a greater knowledge of Jesus and the Church’s teachings, so that we may more perfectly participate in His work of transforming the world, we pray…
- For the Diocese of Des Moines to grow in unity as Catholics, and with our Protestant brothers and sisters, so that Jesus’ prayer for unity may bear fruit in our lives, we pray…
- That our Eucharistic devotion may give rise to “action-for-others”, so that we can more perfectly accomplish the Father’s will in our world, we pray…