Fr. Jim’s Jottings
Last Sunday evening we celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation together as a parish with Bishop Noonan. Almost 120 people were confirmed by Scared Chrism and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I want to congratulate all those who received this sacrament and also their sponsors and their families.
Earlier this weekend on Saturday morning we had celebration of First Communion for the younger members of the parish who have been preparing over the course of the year. We congratulate them for finally being admitted to this most Sacred Sacrament of Jesus’ Body and Blood. I would like to make a few simple comments and observations and ask that we all stop and consider how we receive the Eucharist at Mass.
A few years ago the Church introduced the idea of bowing before we approach the altar to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. The concept was that we are about to enter a sacred space and receive our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have been singing, moving in line, focusing on many things. Now we pause to recognize clearly what we are about to do. After the person in front of us has received communion and before we take that step forward we bow our heads. The normal action is a simple head bow and then to step forward. We are not bowing to the host, or the priest or even the altar at this stage. It is just a plain and obvious way for us to stop and focus that we are about to share in this sacred meal of the Body and Blood of Christ.
When we do step forward, the minsters of the Body and Blood of Christ present the sacred species to us and say: “The Body of Christ” and we respond audibly “Amen”. We look at the host that is being present to us. We then either raise our hands to receive the host or open our mouth and stick out our tongues to receive it. We do not take; we receive. We consume the host and then move to the cup where we receive the Blood of Christ. As we approach the cup we DO Not bow again but as the Cup is presented the minister says “The Blood of Christ” and we say out loud “Amen” and then we take the cup and drink from it. Some of you prefer to kneel when you receive and that is your choice. The Bishops of our country decided many years ago that we would stand to receive as a common action that all can; we do not have to kneel or genuflect and we can simply accept that the standing, the reception in hand or mouth, the response of “amen” is the central common practice. It would be nice to see us doing the same thing and especially.
Many still do not receive from the chalice and pass by the Blood of Christ. You might have a good reason to not receive but remember that Jesus’ words at the Last Supper and repeated during the Eucharistic Prayer are: “Take this, ALL OF YOU, and drink from it…” The Command of the Lord is clear share in his blood which he poured out for us. When we have the opportunity to do so we should receive both the Body and the Blood of Christ. Let’s all do our best to give good example to our newest recipients of the Lord by what we do and say.