Effect of the Eucharist is not automatic

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Word Alive by Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD / June 14,2020 /

Solemnity of Corpus Christi – A

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ or CORPUS CHRISTI, a Latin term which means literally the Body of Christ.

One might ask, “Why does the Church put so much importance in the Eucharist or the Mass? Why not try other kinds of worship like finding God in nature or praying while commuting in the LRT, jeepney, or bus?

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That’s all fine. But what Jesus had told us to do explicitly is to come together like in the Last Supper, partake of the Eucharistic meal, doing it “in memory of Me” (Lk 22,19-20).

The Eucharist, therefore, is not an invention of the Church nor an idea of the popes. It’s simply and clearly the mandate Jesus bequeathed to his disciples more than 2000 years ago and to us, his succeeding disciples.

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Some days ago, a nun in a nearby convent called me to request for consecrated hosts. She said: “Father, it’s been a long time we have not received Holy Eucharist in our community. Please consecrate some hosts in your private Mass and we will pick them up. We haven’t attended Mass for a long time due to the long lockdown.” Her community’s craving to eat the Body and Blood of Christ was very touching, indeed.

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That’s just one instance which shows how so many Catholics really value the Mass and the reception of Holy Communion. Sadly, however, there are others who forget their other Christian obligation that should be linked to the Eucharist and, that is, their social obligation.

Observant people get to asking why church goers attend Mass and receive Holy Communion frequently or daily but do not change their negative traits and habits.

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One reason why this happens is because moral and spiritual conversion is not automatic. The effect of the Eucharist is not achieved just by doing the sacramental rituals (in Latin, ex opere operato). The sacrament becomes effective only in so far as the recipient exerts effort TO RESPOND AND LIVE up to the grace given (ex opere operantis).

Just doing the rituals and not living the sacrament and the teachings in the gospel engenders a split and inconsistency between sacramental life and acts of love and service.

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There was a wealthy amo (landlady) who went to Mass and receive Holy Communion daily. She complained to me that their house maids were dumb and hopeless. She kept on scolding them to the extent that her blood pressure was fluctuating. In a gentle way, I said, “Ma’am, be patient and compassionate with them. Continue to instruct them but do it kindly. You should remember, they are ‘dumb’ because they did not have the privilege of finishing grade school, which you did.”

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At the end of the Mass after the final blessing, the priest celebrant says: “The Mass is ended. “Go and serve the Lord and one another.”
It is an exhortation to go and LIVE the Mass, that is, to be like Christ in loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

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Finally, let’s not forget Jesus’ words in today’s gospel: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn 6, 53).

If eating Christ’s flesh and drinking his blood guarantee eternal life after death, wouldn’t you do everything to follow His exhortation?

PRACTICE: Let’s appreciate the Holy Mass by faithfully, regularly attending it; likewise, make efforts to become a better Christian in love and service.

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LAUGH WITH GOD. A patient aged 80 was about to be discharged. Looking at his hospital bill, he remarked, “Your oxygen is costly! But that’s all right; I have the money to pay. What I’m afraid of is: How will I pay God for all His oxygen I’ve used for 80 years?!”

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An elderly couple went to the store to buy new masks. When they got home and took off their mask, the husband found that he brought home the wrong wife!

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