From Father's Desk

Dear Parish Family,

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone! To all our mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, foster-mothers, and mother figures, we wish you a happy and blessed day. May God bless you with his graces as he blessed the Mother of the Savior. As we honor Mother Mary by crowning her at all the Masses this weekend, permit me to share an article with you that explains more about Mary as Ark of the New Covenant. She is truly the one who makes present in the world our God in the flesh, so that we might receive him and be transformed.

Last week we began walking towards Corpus Christi (June 11th) by kicking off a message series called Living Bread. Jesus tells us, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51). That living bread and our life in Christ will be the focus of our eucharistic message series.

This week our Gospel leads us to focus on the vertical dimension of Holy Communion. By vertical dimension, I mean how Jesus invites us to be united with him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Through reception of Holy Communion, divinity transforms our humanity. Jesus tells us that he shares his very life with us. We receive our spiritual life, our supernatural existence from Christ Jesus. He describes this profound reality as a unity, a union of persons: “You will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you,” (Jn 14:19-20).

One of the threads woven through this section of the Gospel is obedience or observance of the commandments. More than once Jesus echoes, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (See Jn 14:15 - 15:17).  Observance of the new commandment to love one another as I have loved you is a precondition for indwelling. Obedience to the new law tills the soil of our hearts to prepare it for such a noble guest. We must root out all that does not belong to him in order to make room for his presence. Just as we would not plant precious seeds in an unprepared field, so too, the divine indwelling requires the preparation of a holy discipline.

Sometimes people will remark to me that they “feel nothing” after reception of Holy Communion. Allow me to make two suggestions. First, maybe there is something in our moral life that prevents the fruitful reception of the Son of Man? Perhaps more could be done to make welcome the divine guest. Reconciliation can cleanse away the muck of life and prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.

Second, and this aspect cannot be overstated, intense prayer after reception of our Lord in the Eucharist is essential. Father Stefano Manelli writes, “The time of thanksgiving after Holy Communion is the most ideal time for an intimate exchange of love with Jesus. Let it be a love of total self-giving, thus returning Jesus' love so wholeheartedly that there is no longer two of us but one, so to speak, in soul and body. Let it be a love that vivifies and unites - He in me and I in Him, so that we may be consumed in the unity and uniqueness of his love.” (From Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love, p.43) Taking time after Communion to be with the Lord and pray from the depths of our hearts is crucial to fruitful reception of the Sacrament. Distractions, noise, hurrying on to the next thing is ill-advised by the Saints. Instead, at least fifteen minutes after Communion in silent prayer is some of the best-spent time of the day. This is a good reminder for all of us, myself included, to savor that sweet time with our divine Lord.

I would invite you this month of May to join me in praying the rosary for one united intention. When we all pray together for the same thing, our hearts and voices cry out to God in unison. This month, please pray the rosary for a deeper devotion and understanding of the Holy Eucharist in the parish family. As we begin this Year of Eucharistic Revival, we pray God will set our hearts on fire with a deeper love for the Sacrament of Sacraments.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Wilson