What is Eucharist to you?

A reflection on Holy Thursday

by Joe Mertz

Recently, I was at a meeting of parents of 2nd graders preparing for First Holy Communion. The talk told me that Eucharist was important. It clarified how the Catholic view of Eucharist is different from the Protestant views, and stated uncritically that the Catholic view was the correct one. It explained that the subtleties of Eucharist to Catholics lie in it not being just a memorial of Christ, but Christ. And conversely how the Eucharist is a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice, but not Christ’s sacrifice, because that was already done once and for all. I was reminded of the challenge of counting angels dancing on the head of a pin. (Actually, I read the real controversy was over how many angels could stand on the point of a pin. I need to find out which is really true!)

I kept thinking through the talk, “But doesn’t this mean something to you? How is it important to you? How does it touch your life? How can I tell my daughter about it so that she sees the beauty, the love, the relationship. Isn’t it all about relationship? Isn’t it Christ coming to each of us in a very explicit, deliberate, and personal way?”

What did you do about it?

Reflections on Good Friday

By Carole Brennan

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, we were. We are there every day, because Jesus continues to be crucified every day.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord" Yes, every time people are hungry and we don't give them to eat, the Lord gets crucified again. Maybe the food isn't the kind we put on the table. Maybe the people are hungry for love. Maybe they have hug hunger. Maybe they hunger for a kind word.

Silence in the Garden

Reflections on Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

By George McHale

The readings for
this Sunday:

Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Matthew 26:14- 27:66

In this year of The Passion of the Christ--of which Tony Norman in the Post-Gazette said “…sado-masochism is at the heart of the gospel according to Mel”--we come again to the passion of the Christ.

And I begin a week of bafflement and struggle in my heart, my mind, and my soul, which begins with “Palm Sunday.” Waving palms has always seemed silly to me. (Maybe if we waved Terrible Towels?) I am bothered, too, by the portrayed fickleness of the Jewish people. And I believe that the stress on that fickleness stems, at least unconsciously, from Anti-Semitism, suggesting that, if it weren’t for “them,” none of this would have happened, that if they’d stuck by Jesus, the power brokers would have backed off.

But would we even want the “Divine Plan” to have been foiled? Which brings us to the heart of the matter: the “redemptive” suffering of Jesus.

Human Jesus

Reflections on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

By Maynard Brennan

The readings for
this Sunday:

Ezekiel 37:12-14
Romans 8:8-11
John 11:1-45

This Gospel is not so much about the divinity of Jesus (as it might seem to be at first reading), as it is about humanity. Certainly this is an amazing miracle, raising a dead man to life, and only Jesus as God, could do this. But the story reveals Jesus as man. For one thing, Jesus procrastinates, a very human trait. In fact, to a skeptic, it might seem that Jesus is teasing, perhaps for a dramatic effect. Let us look at the narrative again: Jesus learns that his dear friend, Lazarus, is seriously ill. Instead of showing concern, He brushes off the message (messenger) saying it is nothing worth considering. Although he loves Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, he procrastinates for two days before taking action. He then continues his journey to Judea, only a short distance away, which takes him at least four days. (To keep the proper perspective, however, we must not forget that Jesus from the start tells his listeners that all this procrastination is that "God may be glorified.") After Jesus reaches the outskirts of Judea, He receives another message: He is too late, for Lazarus is already dead and entombed. Then he pauses again and waits while Martha goes backs to her home to fetch Mary. Finally, when the whole family is together and a significant number of witnesses are assembled, and everybody is wondering just when Jesus is going to act, He does the perfectly and highly dramatic thing:

As the Light of the Day Lengthens

Reflections on the Fourth Sunday of Lent

By George McHale

The readings for
this Sunday:

1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

I like to rise before dawn (though I rarely accomplish it except in winter!) and peer patiently into the grayness and watch for the first hint of a glint of color in the world around me as light gradually fills the earth. As with a Harry Potter photograph, it is like watching the universe coming into existence on that first day of creation.

Sowing Seeds Through Conversation

Reflections on the Third Sunday of Lent

By Donna Brett

The readings for
this Sunday:

Exodus 17:3-7
Romans 5:1-2,5-8
John 4:5-42

Our twenty-five-year-old daughter came for a visit last weekend. She's been an animal lover since infancy and likes to relax watching dog shows on "Animal Planet". After that program was over, she became upset and called me in to watch as numerous dogs found in a man's house were displayed on the screen in various conditions of maltreatment. I had to leave the room; I told her I just couldn't deal with the sight of animal abuse in addition to being bombarded on a daily basis with incontrovertible evidence on all the "Human Planet" television stations of the suffering we inflict on our own species because of our fear, hatred, apathy, and greed.

Invitation and Promise

Reflections on the Second Sunday of Lent

By Lola Wells

The readings for
this Sunday:

Genesis 12:1-4a
2 Timothy 1:8b-10
Matthew 17:1-9

I couldn't sign the paper. My right arm simply would not move. I thought I was through the worst of it. I had resigned my job, closed my apartment, sold, given away or put into storage all my worldly possessions except for those few things I wanted to take with me. I had said good-by to friends, had a drunken party with my car pool of 11 years and said good-by and good-by again to my family. I had in my purse a one-way plane ticket to a Benedictine Monastery in MN, 600 miles from the love and security of family, friends and professional life. But I couldn't sign the paper to sell my car!


Reflections on the First Sunday of Lent

By Edward Hogan

The readings for
this Sunday:

Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
Romans 5:12-19
Matthew 4:1-11

One of the words that has been used over the centuries to describe the earthly function of Jesus is that of teacher. The task of the teacher is to impart knowledge and in the best of circumstances also to convey wisdom. The text of the Gospel for today displays one of the great teaching moments of Christ's ministry. In this story about the temptations that Jesus faced near the beginning of his work, Matthew centers his story around three areas of human life.