As the old year drew to a close, Pope Benedict XVI breathed his final breath. Today Pope Francis celebrated his funeral Mass. As a Church we unite in prayer for the repose of Pope Benedict’s soul and also remember the many gifts he has left us. I am very grateful to our friend Dr. Tim O’Malley for helping us understand more deeply the late Holy Father’s Eucharistic legacy. Today we share part one of a three-part series that explores the Eucharistic teachings in Benedict’s Sacramentum Caritatis.
Our Faith reveals to us that we do not have to go at life alone. Pope Benedict proved this through the witness of his life. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14) … and He still dwells among us! We don’t have to be self-sufficient — when we try, we will ultimately fail, because we were made for communion. Where does this communion we so long for begin? Our Eucharistic Meditation for this week offers the answer: recognizing that we are beloved children of God — a Father who always keeps his promises.
Entering into our baptismal identity opens the door to a life of freedom and joy. When she was a college student, Jessica Gallagos discovered this through powerful encounters with Jesus in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, which she shares about in “Reaffirm your Promises.” Dr. Scott Hahn helps reveal the great story of God’s great love for us, his children, in his video “The Bible and the Sacrifice of the Mass.” And Father Luke helps us recall the power of forgiveness and reconciliation in this week’s edition of “Do This in Remembrance of Me.”
On this journey to Heaven, Jesus shares his whole heavenly family with us, to journey with us spiritually. In a most special way, he entrusts us to his mother, sharing her with us to be our own mother, too. She always points us to Jesus. If you find yourself struggling along the road, ask Mary for help. Remember her tender words to Juan Diego, “Am I not your mother?” She is always praying for us! Let us ask her to intercede for the repose of the soul of Pope Benedict XVI with us in a special way this day.
INSPIRED BY THE EUCHARIST
Pope Benedict XVI gave the Church many gifts during his lifetime. Dr. Tim O’Malley, in this three-part series, highlights the late pontiff's Eucharistic teaching. Today we share part one: “The Eucharist Is a Mystery To Be Believed.” Leer en español.
Jessica Gallegos went to the FOCUS SLS conference in Chicago because she wanted to see the big city. She left with a renewed relationship with Jesus Christ. Read her story. Leer en español.
In this video, Dr. Scott Hahn reveals the biblical connections to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Take advantage of the fantastic formation opportunity today. Watch the video now.
Reconciliation is what restores relationships. In this week’s column, Father Luke helps us understand the Penitential Rite at Mass. Leer in español.
THE EUCHARIST IN PREACHING
Pope Francis (excerpt from his homily at Pope Benedict XVI’s funeral Mass)
“Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” This is the invitation and the programme of life that he quietly inspires in us. Like a potter (cf. Is 29:16), he wishes to shape the heart of every pastor, until it is attuned to the heart of Christ Jesus (cf. Phil 2:5). Attuned in grateful devotion, in service to the Lord and to his people, a service born of thanksgiving for a completely gracious gift: “You belong to me … you belong to them,” the Lord whispers, “you are under the protection of my hands. You are under the protection of my heart. Stay in my hands and give me yours.” Here we see the “condescension” and closeness of God, who is ready to entrust himself to the frail hands of his disciples, so that they can feed his people and say with him: Take and eat, take and drink, for this is my body which is given up for you (cf. Lk 22:19).
Attuned in prayerful devotion, a devotion silently shaped and refined amid the challenges and resistance that every pastor must face (cf. 1 Pet 1:6-7) in trusting obedience to the Lord’s command to feed his flock (cf. Jn 21:17). Like the Master, a shepherd bears the burden of interceding and the strain of anointing his people, especially in situations where goodness must struggle to prevail and the dignity of our brothers and sisters is threatened (cf. Heb 5:7-9). In the course of this intercession, the Lord quietly bestows the spirit of meekness that is ready to understand, accept, hope and risk, notwithstanding any misunderstandings that might result. It is the source of an unseen and elusive fruitfulness, born of his knowing the One in whom he has placed his trust (cf. 2 Tim 1:12). A trust itself born of prayer and adoration, capable of discerning what is expected of a pastor and shaping his heart and his decisions in accord with God’s good time (cf. Jn 21:18): “Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence.”
There’s no time like Ordinary Time to grow in our relationship with Jesus! He is inviting all of us to spend time with him in Eucharistic Adoration — which flows from the Mass and leads us back to Mass. Download our first Ordinary Time Eucharistic Prayer Companion in English or Spanish today!
In 2021 Catholic News Service produced a podcast series on the Eucharist. Enjoy “Communion: Episode 2,” where hosts Chaz Muth and Carol Zimmermann discuss the Eucharist and its link to Catholic identity.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has some wonderful news to share about how the Eucharistic Revival has taken root in their diocese. Read about it in Deacon Dana Nearmyer’s article.
“Augustine drew out the meaning of the manger using an idea that at first seems almost shocking, but on closer examination contains a profound truth. The manger is the place where animals find their food. But now, lying in the manger, is he who called himself the true bread come down from heaven, the true nourishment that we need in order to be fully ourselves. This is the food that gives us true life, eternal life. Thus the manger becomes a reference to the table of God, to which we are invited so as to receive the bread of God. From the poverty of Jesus’ birth emerges the miracle in which man’s redemption is mysteriously accomplished.”
“Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives,” p. 68