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สถิติเยี่ยมชม (เริ่ม 22-02-2012)

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2019-11-13 03:57

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Body and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy 8:2–3, 14b–16a; 1 Corinthians 10:16–17; John 6:51–58

There were always informers
We tend to take for granted special gifts like the Body of Christ and our own fathers.

Fr.Walter Cizek was arrested by the Russians during World War II. He was accused of being a “Vatican spy,”
and spent the next 23 years in prisons and Siberian work camps. When he finally got out of prison, he wrote a book
of his experiences. He entitled it He Leadeth Me.

Some of the moving stories in the book concern the sacrifices prisoners made to receive the Body of Christ in prison. One story, especially, deserves mention. Before sharing it with you,
let me give you some background.

In the days of World War II, prior to the Second Vatican Council, it was church law that you must abstain from all food and drink for 24 hours before receiving Communion.
Keeping that in mind, listen to this passage from Fr. Ciszek’s book:

I have seen . . . prisoners deprive their bodies of needed sleep
in order to get up before the rising bell for a secret Mass. . . .
We would be severely punished if we were discovered saying Mass, and there were always informers. . . .

All this made it difficult to have many prisoners in attendance,
so we would consecrate extra bread and distribute Communion
to the other prisoners when we could. Sometimes that meant we would only see them when we returned to the barracks at night before dinner.

Yet these men would actually fast all day long and do  exhausting physical labor without a bite to eat since dinner the evening before, just to be able to receive the Holy Eucharist that was how much the sacrament meant to them!*

In other words, it would be like you and me not eating or drinking since this same time yesterday. Meanwhile,  we would have been doing back-breaking labor in subzero weather. That’s how much Communion meant to Fr. Ciszek and the prisoners.

This story is an appropriate one for the Feast of Corpus Christi. The words Corpus Christi are Latin for “the body
of Christ.” On the Feast of Corpus Christi we honor the eucharistic Body of Christ.

Why do we set aside a special day to honor the Body of Christ?
Don’t we honor Christ’s Body at every Mass?
Why, then, have a special day?

We celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi for the same reason we are also celebrating Father’s Day today. It is because of our human tendency to take for granted special gifts like the Body of Christ and like our own fathers.

It is one of the great tragedies of life that we tend to lose our appreciation for some of the most precious gifts we possess.
Why is this?

Psychologists tell us that if we attended to every sound we heard or every color we saw, we would literally go insane.
To protect ourselves from insanity, we habituate these sounds and colors. We block them out of our consciousness.
*Excerpts from HE LEADETH ME by Walter Ciszek and Daniel Faherty.
Copyright © 1973 by Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. Reprinted by permission of
Doubleday & Company. Inc.

For example, if we hear someone typing in the next room,
we close our ears to the sound. Psychologists call this process “habituation.”

But there is a negative side to habituation. It has a drawback.
We tend to habituate everything after a while sunsets, flowers, friends, mothers, fathers, even the Body and Blood of Christ.
We lose our appreciation of them. We lose our excitement for them. We take them for granted.

Habituation is one of the big reasons why Zen meditation
has become so popular. The purpose of Zen meditation is to dehabituate ourselves. It is to make ourselves sensitive again
to the beauty of sunsets, flowers, and friends.

To get some idea of how it works, try focusing on a familiar object, like a flower, as though you were seeing it for the first time. Or focus on someone you love, like Dad, as though you were seeing him for the last time and wanted to burn into your mind this last image of him.

This brings us back to Corpus Christi. The Feast of Corpus Christi holds out to us an invitation and a challenge.

First, the invitation. Corpus Christi invites us to ask ourselves,
What does Holy Communion mean to us?  Do we still appreciate it as much as we did when we received it for
the very first time?  Does it mean as much to us as it did
to the prisoners in Fr. Ciszek’s book?

If our answer is no, then we are faced with a challenge.
It is the same challenge that Father’s Day poses for us.
It is this:
How can we deepen our personal appreciation for the  Eucharist?
How can we deepen our personal appreciation of Dad?
How can we become excited again about both of these
gifts  to us?

One way is to do what Zen meditators do. Try meditating on the Body of Christ as though you were discovering it for the very first time.

Emilie Griffin, who is in advertising in New York, became a Catholic a number of years ago. She wrote a fascinating book called Turning. In it she discusses what drew her to  Catholicism. She writes:

A growing devotion to the Eucharist and to a belief in the Real Presence drew me to Roman Catholic churches. . . . As my devotion to the Eucharist grew,  so did my attraction to Roman Catholicism.

And so we should try to meditate on the Eucharist the way Emilie Griffin did when she discovered this unfathomable mystery for the very first time.

May I close with two suggestions?

First, during the week ahead add a prayer of thanksgiving
to your regular daily prayers for Christ’s gift of his Body to us.

Second, as you walk down the aisle later on in Mass to receive the Body of Christ, focus your thoughts, in a special way,
on who it is you will receive when the eucharistic minister holds up the sacred host and says, “The Body of Christ.”

You will receive the living Body of Christ.

You will receive the same Christ who was born in Bethlehem.

You will receive the same Christ who died on the cross.

You will receive the same Christ who rose from the dead.

When you think about this, it is so incredible that it is hard to imagine. Yet we know by faith that it is true.

Only a loving God could have given us such an unimaginable gift.

Series II
Body and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy 8:2–3, 14b–16a; 1 Corinthians 10:16–17; John 6:51–58
Dancing in the rain
We must guard against taking the Eucharist for granted. It is Jesus’ special gift of love to us.
In March 1987 a Jesuit priest, Peter Schineller, returned from spending five years in Africa.

He wrote an article in America magazine, reporting on the state of the Catholic Church in just one African country, Nigeria.

Schineller used three words to describe the Nigerian Church:
young, vibrant, and enthusiastic. Typical is Saint James parish.

A symbol of this poor parish is the bell that calls the people to Sunday Mass. It’s the huge rim from an old truck tire,  which hangs in a tree next to the church.

About 15 minutes before Mass begins, someone bangs the rim several times with a big pipe. It’s not the most beautiful sound in the world, but it does the job. Within minutes a thousand people gather for the Sunday worship.

Another sign of the growing faith in Nigeria is the number of vocations to the priesthood. At one seminary more than 500 young Nigerians are in study.

The week before Fr. Schineller left, eleven priests were ordained. Of these newly ordained priests, three were assigned to Liberia, three to the Cameroons, and three
to the United States. This is living proof that the Nigerian Church has come of age. It now sends missionaries to foreign lands.

A final illustration of the vibrancy of the young Nigerian Church is an excerpt from a letter of a local bishop. This excerpt is especially appropriate to us because it refers to the feast we are celebrating today: Corpus Christi, the “Body of Christ.” The bishop writes:

Yesterday was Corpus Christi procession day in Port  Harcourt. . . . The Lord sent rain.

[All along the two-mile route] the people danced and sang in the rain. . . . It was the first time I recall the Blessed Sacrament being carried into the place of benediction to the sound of resounding cheering and clapping.

Everyone was drenched. No one thought of seeking shelter
or running away. Judges, lawyers, doctors, mothers, children
stood their ground as if nothing was happening except the Eucharist. I have not seen anything like it before, here or anywhere else. Peter Schineller, “Learning from Missionaries,” America (March 28, 1987)

Ithink we need to hear more reports like this. I think we need to know how the Church is growing and how much
the Eucharist means to our brother and sister Christians
in third-world countries.

Reports like this also make us ask ourselves what the Eucharist means to us.

It’s one of the tragedies of life that we tend to lose our appreciation of precious gifts, like the Eucharist. Why is this?

Psychologists tell us that if we attended to every sound we heard or every color we saw, we would literally go insane.

To protect ourselves from insanity, we habituate these sounds and colors. We block them out of our consciousness.

For example, if we hear someone typing in the next room,
we close our ears to the sound. Psychologists call this process “habituation.”

But there’s also a negative side to habituation. We tend to habituate everything after a while sunsets, flowers, friends, parents, children. We tend to lose our appreciation of them.
We tend to lose our excitement for them. We tend to take them for granted.


Habituation is one of the big reasons that Zen meditation
has become so popular. The purpose of Zen meditation is
to dehabituate ourselves. It is to make ourselves sensitive again to the beauty of sunsets, flowers, and friends.

To get some idea of how Zen works, try focusing on the face
of a parent or a child as though you were seeing that person
for the last time and wanted to burn that person’s picture into your memory.

This brings us back to Corpus Christi. The feast of the “Body of Christ” holds out to us an invitation and a challenge.

First, the invitation. This feast invites us to ask ourselves,
What does Holy Communion mean to us? Do we appreciate it as much as we did the first time we received it?

If our answer is no, then we are faced with a challenge.
How can we deepen our appreciation of it?
How can we get excited about it again?

One way is to do what Zen meditators do. Try receiving it
as if we were doing so for the first time or the last time in
our lives.

Emilie Griffin, who is in advertising in New York, became
a Catholic a number of years ago. She wrote a fascinating book called Turning. In it she discusses what drew her to Catholicism. She writes:

A growing devotion to the Eucharist and to a belief in the Real Presence drew me to Roman Catholic churches. . . . As my devotion to the Eucharist grew, so did my attraction to Roman Catholicism.

And so we should try to look upon the Eucharist the way Emilie Griffin did when she discovered this unfathomable mystery for the very first time.

May I close with two suggestions?

First, in the week ahead, add a prayer of thanksgiving to your regular daily prayers for Christ’s gift of his body to us.

Second, as you walk down the aisle later on in Mass to receive the Body of Christ, focus your thoughts, in a special way, on who it is you will receive when the eucharistic minister holds up the sacred bread and says, “The Body of Christ.”

You will receive the living Body of Christ.

You will receive the same Christ who was born in Bethlehem.

You will receive the same Christ who died on the cross for us.

You will receive the same Christ who rose from the dead.

When you think about this, it’s so incredible that it’s hard to imagine. Yet we know by faith that it’s true.

Only a loving God could have given us such an unimaginable gift.


Series III
Body and Blood of Christ
Deuteronomy 8:2–3, 14b–16a; 1 Corinthians 10:16–17; John 6:51–58

The Eucharist
The Body of the same Christ who died on the cross.

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me
and I live in them. John 6:56

Scott Hahn was militantly anti-Catholic in school and in
his seminary days. For example, he gave out anti-Catholic literature, ripped apart a rosary in anger, and tore up a Catholic prayerbook.

After his seminary training, he became pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He also became
a part-time instructor at a local Presbyterian seminary.

The first course he was assigned to teach was the “Gospel According to John.” While preparing for chapter 6, from which we just read, something happened to him.

He began to question what he’d been taught and was now teaching others about the Eucharist: that it was only a symbol of Christ’s body, not the real body of Christ. This  “questioning” was the start of a journey that led him into the Catholic Church.

The first big step of that journey came when he persuaded his wife to go with him to study at Marquette University
in the 1980s.  He wanted to learn firsthand the Catholic thinking on the Eucharist.
The more he learned, the more convinced he became that Christ was present in the Eucharist, body and blood, humanity and divinity.

Then, one weekday, he decided to do something that he never dreamed  he would ever do. He decided to attend a Mass  in the weekday chapel of Gesu church.

He got there early and sat in the back pew, as an “observer.”
As he observed, he was amazed at the number of people arriving and with their sincere devotion. Then Mass began.
As he listened to the readings, he was struck by how they took on special meaning in the context of what was about to take place: the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

He writes in his book, which is called One Comes Home to Rome:

All of a sudden I realized this . . . was the setting in which the Bible was meant to be read.

Then came the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Hahn said that when the priest held up the Host, after the words of consecration,
all doubt about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist vanished. He wrote:

“With all my heart, I whispered, “My Lord and my God.” . . .

He concludes, saying:

I left the chapel not telling a soul where I had been or what I had done. But the next day I was back, and the next, and the next. . . . I don’t know how to say it, but I had fallen . . . in
 love with our Lord in the Eucharist! pp. 87–88

This moving story brings us to today’s feast: The Body
of Christ.

A question people sometimes ask is: “Why do we set aside a special day to honor the Body of Christ? Don’t we do this at every Mass?”

Isn’t it true that the feast of the Body of Christ was not  celebrated during the first 1,300 years of Christianity?
Why celebrate it now?

The reason we celebrate it now is an eminently practical one.

Like so many other Catholic converts, the story of Scott Hahn makes clear how much the Eucharist meant to him and still means to him. Recall his exact words:

The next day I was back, and the next, and the next. . . .
I don’t know how to say it, but I had fallen . . . in love
with our Lord in the Eucharist!

The enthusiastic love of convert Catholics for the Eucharist reminds us of the tragic fact: we cradle Catholics tend to take the Eucharist for granted.

This is not due to irreverence on our part, or a lack of faith
in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.

It is simply due to something that happens to every human being with the passage of time; namely, we tend to take things and people for granted.

For example, take our parents. After a while, we take them
so much for granted that we find it necessary to set aside a special day each year to remind us of what they have done
for us.

Why do we lose our appreciation for such precious gifts?

Psychologists explain it this way. They tell us that if we paid full attention to every sound or color that bombards us at a given moment, we would experience an overload.

So to protect ourselves, we tone down we block out these sounds and colors from our consciousness.

For example, when I was in college, at first, the sound of someone typing in a room with their door open would drive me crazy. But after awhile, I learned how to “block out ” the sound.

Psychologist call this process of “blocking out” of sounds and colors habituation. It’s the way our mind protects us  from sensory overload.

But there is a negative side to habituation. After a while, we tend to habituate everything: fathers, mothers, sunsets even the Body and Blood of Christ. We take them for granted.

This carries us back to today’s feast. One of its reasons is to remind ourselves of the great gift we have in the Eucharist.

Allow me to close with two suggestions. First, during the week ahead, add to your daily prayers a special prayer of gratitude
for the gift of the Eucharist.

Second, as you walk down the aisle to receive Communion in a few minutes, focus your thoughts, in a special way, on who it is you will receive: the Body of Christ.

You will receive the Body of the same Christ who was born in Bethlehem.
You will receive the Body of the same Christ who died on the cross.
You will receive the Body of the same Christ who rose on Easter Sunday.

This is the message of today’s readings.

This is the mystery we celebrate in this liturgy.

This is why we rejoice and we return to the altar to give thanks to God on this great feast.