This coming Saturday, June 12th at 10am, in the Cathedral of St. James, the Archbishop will be
ordaining four young men to the priesthood. It is an extraordinary liturgy and opportunity to grow
in the richness of our faith. These men are laying down their lives for you, and as Jesus says, “No
greater love has any man than to lay down one’s life for a friend.” There are several ways to do this
as Christians, male or female, rich or poor, young or old, but the ordination liturgy captures the
essence of this sacrificial love that all priests are called to. I hope you can come and support these
men as they dedicate themselves to the well-being of our church in Western Washington.
I had the privilege of serving at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat recently. This retreat is organized by Project Rachel
which serves the needs and healing of women and men harmed by abortion. It is simply glorious to see the
transformation that can take place in a weekend of prayer, fellowship and tears. (There is laughter too!) These
courageous folk have made an enormous step in reconciling a very traumatic experience, facing what has occurred
and accepting responsibility for their part, in the loving presence of God’s mercy. Often, horrific circumstances have
contributed much to the person’s decision. Jesus meets each one of us in our poverty and pain and invites us into the
light of His marvelous love. If you or any of your loved ones has been harmed by the experience of abortion I
encourage you to call Valerie Jacobs at 1-800-822-HOPE (4673). All calls are confidential. A Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat
may be exactly what you need to heal the past and live with joy in the future.
Body and Blood of Christ
Today’s Solemnity reminds us of the great gift that Christ left us at the last supper and then again on the cross.
“His love is everlasting.” This gift of his Body and Blood in the form of the Eucharist is a perpetual symbol of His
presence here on earth. I say ‘symbol’ in the Catholic sense. A Catholic symbol, or Real-symbol, not only points to a
reality, but is the reality. Of course we don’t typically see Jesus’ Body when we behold the host (though miracles
have occurred). Normally what our eyes see is bread. Our hearts are another matter. Has your heart ‘burned within
you’ as you receive the Eucharist? Jesus is present there to feed and nourish you, not as an intellectual reminder of
all the wonderful truths of our faith, but in actual substantial presence. That’s why we use the term
‘transubstantiation’ when we refer to the consecration at Mass. In transubstantiation, the substance, invisible to our
eyes, is transformed from bread into the Body of Christ. That’s why Jesus said,
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not
have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise
him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood, is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and
drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. (Jn 6:53-56)
The first Christians took this literally, often being accused of cannibalism. Their experience was substantiated
by the grace of God apparent in the Eucharist. Writing around 110 A.D., Ignatius of Antioch
says to the Church in Rome:
I desire the Bread of God, the heavenly Bread, the Bread of Life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the
Son of God, who became afterwards of the seed of David and Abraham; I wish the drink of God,
namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.
We can be thankful that we have received the same mystery, the same faith, and the same Lord who meets us
in the Holy Eucharist.
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