Posted by: fvbcdm | April 2, 2015

Holy Thursday (2 April 2015)

Today is Holy Thursday, the birthday of two of Our Divine Lord’s greatest gifts to us: Himself in the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, and then the sacrament of Holy Orders, by which the Eucharist will be perpetuated among his people until the end of time.

Earlier on during his public life, Jesus promised a large crowd of people whom he had just fed by a miraculous multiplication of bread and fish that he would one day give them his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. The idea of that was so repulsive to them that some of them “walked with him no more,” as the gospel tells us. When he saw their disbelief and their departure, did he call them back to explain what he meant? No, he did not.  He wanted their faith and trust in him. If they did not believe and trust to that degree, then he let them go. But then, at that Passover meal on the night before he died, he fulfilled the promise he had made. He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his apostles and said, “Take this and eat of it. This is my body.” And after the meal, he took a cup of wine, blessed it, and said again to the apostles, “Take this and drink of it. This is the cup of my blood.” And then he added, “Do this in commemoration of me.”

We can’t have the Holy Eucharist, that is, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, without the sacrament of Holy Orders, because only bishops and priests have received the spiritual power to consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Down through the ages, many non-believers in the true Eucharist have come up with their own ideas as to what it is. Many of our separated Christian brothers say it is only a symbol of Christ. Others say Jesus is present in the Eucharist only at the moment of communion, but does not remain in the consecrated bread and wine. Others make it totally subjective and say that it is Christ’s body if the receiver believes that it is Christ’s body—it’s all a matter of personal opinion.

The apostles who were there at the Last Supper and made their First Communion that night, as well as being ordained bishops and priests by Our Lord, gave to the Church the authentic doctrine of the Eucharist which has come down within the Catholic community for these two thousand years, and will continue to be believed, produced, and received by the faithful until the end of time.

Jesus gave to his Church the sacrament of the Eucharist to be the very heart and center of our love of him, our Christian life, our spiritual union with him. We are essentially a eucharistic people. Take away the Eucharist, and you destroy the Church. And take away the bishops and priests, and you have no Eucharist.

So, on this Holy Thursday, let us be very grateful to Our Blessed Lord for these two tremendous gifts: Himself in the Eucharist, and the priesthood by which the Eucharist is daily made present for us. All over the world, our priests are exercising their Eucharistic ministry: celebrating Mass and giving Holy Communion to those who wish to receive it. All over the world, there are Catholic churches, chapels, monasteries, and convents in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved for the adoration of the people of God. All over the world, those who love Jesus in the Eucharist are receiving him with devotion and love so as to nourish their spiritual lives and help them to live as Jesus wills. Be especially grateful today for your faith in the Eucharist and its availability to you. And help me to be grateful today for the priesthood to which I have been called. [Soon] I will celebrate the [52nd] anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, and I am deeply grateful to Our Lord for having shared his priesthood with me and placed into my hands the Eucharist for my own spiritual nourishment and that of all those to whom I have ministered during these years. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note: This message was composed some years ago.

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