“These writing’s are based on specific readings listed for each particular day. Sometimes it might help to read the readings by clicking on the “UCCB daily readings link.” You might have to do a bit of searching to match the post’s date to a corresponding reading. Other times one can conveniently click on the link within the post. Sometimes they are there, and other times they are not. Of course one can simply read the post all by itself”
Whenever two parishes merge, they never take one parish and move into another. One does not close and simply move into another. A priest explained this once. When two parishes become one they first both must close, and then they all begin as one. In a sense both must die, and then a new parish is reborn. It follows the steps of baptism, first a death and then life. This came to mind during the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
So much of Johns Nativity story mirrors Christ’s. Similar, yet also a definite contrast. With John comes the closing if a covenant, so that a new covenant might be born. Both are announced by an angel. With the Annunciation, Mary responds with the Magnificat. With Zachariah, he becomes mute. He is silenced until the herald of a New Testament is born. Then a Canticle. “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, He has come to His people to set them free…” In the birth of John, his name does not come from his father or grandfather, as was the tradition. The new tradition begins with a name given by an angel. Yohanan, John, means to quicken or make alive. John is to prepare a path for something new. Jesus.
Even in Elizabeth, making way for something new is apparent. Elizabeth and Zachariah are old, and Elizabeth is past her childbearing years. They are childless, and she is barren. The natural expectation is a dying, and the cultural connotation is one of sin. There is no expectation of the miraculous vibrancy that is about to begin. A sadness that concludes with a joyous hope. John joyously leaps in the womb of Elizabeth at the visitation. An omen of things to come. One must decrease, so another might increase. One closes, the other opens.
How can a person describe the Sacred Heart of Jesus? It is a heart commonly wrapped in thorns as mockery. It is a heart pierced, wounded. It is a heart of salvation, charity called love. It is the heart of a shepherd, recall “Good Shepherd Sunday.” It is a heart that offers forgiveness, a broken heart. A heart that offers salvation, a heart pure. A heart sacred. Descended from heaven, born in a manger, it screams follow me. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an old one.
The first reading of the day Dt 7:6-11 : Moses says “You are a people sacred to the LORD, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own.” God’s Love for man, or God is love, and that is at the heart of Jesus. It is its center. The Sacred Heart if Jesus is God’s love for man. More than love, a love temporary it is fidelity. Fidelity, faithful. Fidelity, loyal. Fidelity, truthful. The Sacred Heart is one of fidelity. The Sacred Heart is one of emotions. Not one of body, but one of spirit. It is the essence of life, an organ revered. Don’t view the organ as a modern physician: to them it is a simple pump. To the ancients it was the seat of life and reason and emotion. It is both emotion and intellect. Think Cupid, think Love. It is a heart that delivered the Hebrews from slavery. That is why John says “This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world. Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God….” And concludes: “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” God is love, and the Sacred Heart is God. 1 Jn 4:7-16
At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones. Mt 11:25-30
And a Sacred Heart calls us, it reaches out. Please note that early on I mentioned “the Good Shepherd” The Sacred Heart is a Shepherd, it is not an organ that simply pumps blood. Imagery is important.
A few short days ago the opening of the daily readings caught my eye. It began like this:
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
That got me thinking of Macedonia, and of Corinth. Paul talks of the Macedonians and he addresses the Corinthians. A tale of the Macedonian Churches to the churches of Corinth. Later I started reading about the bible that letter was from. It was not about one bible, but different versions of the same. Not only different versions, but also different languages. And then there were the opinions of those that read the same article as me. Some said, “I read this version, but nit that!” “This is good, that is garbage.” This is right and that is wrong. I can see tempers flaring and fists flying. Different communities, different opinions, different attitudes, and different conclusions. Liberal, and traditional, conservative, orthodox, reformed, modernist, futuristic, and labels I have not thought of yet. Scattered and varied, but they have one thing in common with those churches of Macedonia and Corinth. They all belong to the same Church, one Church universal. Each had their own conclusions, and opinions, and tendencies; but they allied with one Church and were part of that same voice. The voice of the Church. The varied voices tried to utter one sound, and how did they decide the sound to sing? They prayed.
*oh, those that stormed out of the room? protestants.
Corpus Christi, a solemnity that reminds us that Jesus is always near us. We are never abandoned or alone. The LORD is always present in the tabernacle, the ciborium, the chalice, and in us. Always present, and truly present. That is the foundation of the Church, it is what Jesus taught us.(Martin Luther argued, Luther is wrong.) “I am the bread come down from heaven.” “I am true food, and true drink.” “Eat of my body and drink of my Blood.” Never abandoned, and always amongst us. The Eucharist is true food, a necessity to sustain life. Certainly a necessity to sustain a life in Christ. To recognize the Blessed Sacrament as a necessity is to be reminded of the command “take and eat.” Though the gifts, bread and wine, are presented by humanity; the sacrament is instituted by God. The second person of the blessed Trinity.
Wander back through the Gospel. Go back earlier than the Last Supper. In the multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. Jesus took the loaves, said a prayer and blessed it. He then gave it to the Apostles so that they might distribute it to those that hungered. Priests today take the same bread, say the prayers, and deliver the consecrated body and blood of Christ to those that hunger. It is no wonder that the disciples recognized the risen Lord in the breaking of bread. That bread, His Body, was central to His ministry. The sacrament did not have its origin’s in the Last Supper, it began when the Infant was placed in a feeding trough. Food and Drink, essential for a journey. Bread and wine, consecrated by the Priest. The importance of the Priest. Saint Francis once commented on this during a time when corruption was common. He reminded people to respect priests because they deliver the Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi. The Eucharist. The true Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ. A sanctuary candle reminds us of GOD’S presence.
Bread is food for a journey and the word Companions has its origins in travelers with bread. Bet Lehem, [bet ˈleχem], “House of Bread”; Bethlehem. The journey is important. Pilgrimage or Exodus. “I am the true bread come down from heaven” refers to the Manna that sustained Gods people on their journey. The Eucharist does the same on ours. Eucharist as food for a journey is commemorated in the Corpus Christi processions that are associated with this Solemnity. How often does Jesus appear to disciples that are walking, traveling from one place to another? Jesus is always present to them no matter where they might be. As one can travel from location to location physically, one also journeys spiritually. From sinner to saint. A discalced congregation is a religious congregation that goes barefoot. A reminder of the journey, and its difficulty. A journey, a procession. This procession is also a proclamation, something to remember. Reaffirming. Discalced is often a vow. (Broken English, flickering thoughts. )
One is certainly reminded if the difficulty of the journey, can one forget the procession that led to a Corpus hung on a Cross. Good Friday. The journey was a climb. Exhausting, Jesus fell three times. They gave him vinegar for His thirst, a bitterness that He refused at the end of the journey. He hung on a Cross. Look at the gift Jesus gave us, as we walk the journey. The way of the Cross is a journey. The bread of life, come down from heaven. The Resurrection.