Eucharistic Coherence

(Homily for Corpus Christi Sunday)

Message: Gratitude (taking the time to thank Jesus) and Eucharistic coherence (not acting or speaking against the commandments) - these two practices enable us to give our lives for others.

I'd like to begin this Corpus Christi homily with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. He asked a question regarding the Fr. Damien:

"The political and journalistic world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai. The Catholic Church, on the contrary, counts by the thousands those who after the example of Fr. Damien have devoted themselves to the victims of leprosy. It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism."

That's a great question: What is the source of the heroism of people like St. Damien of Molokai and his successor, St. Marianne Cope?

We get the answer this Sunday. In today's readings St. Paul tells how Jesus took bread and said, "This is my body," and with the chalice of wine, "this is the covenant of my blood." Then St. Paul concludes, "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes."

When we receive Communion - the Body and Blood of Jesus - we mystically enter his death and resurrection. That should give us strength - strength to spend our lives in service. Now, you and I are not St. Damien or St. Marianne, but the Eucharist call us - like them - to give our lives for others.

For Communion to have power, it requires a couple of things. The first is what Pope Francis referred to as "Eucharistic coherence." Eucharistic coherence, that's a big word. It means this: "People cannot receive the Eucharist and at the same time act and speak against the commandments."**

When he was the Cardinal of Buenos Aires, the pope emphasized the commandments regarding respect for human life from conception through natural death - and every moment between. We see Pope Francis living that teaching in the way he shows special attention to the infirm and the disabled.

There was even a report that the pope performed an exorcism on a troubled boy. A formal exorcism, of course, involves prior medical and psychiatric evaluation. Still, every prayer makes a stand against forces of evil. If you and I are going to help others, it means spiritual combat - and that combat, that service requires Eucharistic coherence - acting and speaking in line with the commandments.

Besides Eucharistic coherence, we need something else. I can say it in one word: gratitude. The word, Eucharist, means to give thanks. On this Corpus Christi Sunday I would like to mention one act of gratitude: the prayer of thanksgiving after Communion. We lose the value of Communion if we "eat and run"

A priest I heard of, if he sees someone leave early, he stops them and reminds them that only one person left the Last Supper early! Well, I am not going to do that, but I am tempted to do what St. Philip Neri did:

He saw someone leaving church right after Communion and he sent servers with candles and bells to accompany the man. The guy stormed back into the church and confronted the priest. "What kind of joke is this?" he demanded.

St. Philip Neri said, "It's no joke. The rules of the liturgy say the Blessed Sacrament should be treated with reverence. You left the church immediately with no prayer of thanksgiving. You were carrying the Blessed Sacrament within you. So I asked the boys to accompany you to honor Him."

After Communion you and I are tabernacles - the physical presence of Jesus continues in us for a brief time. That's why we have the Communion hymn, a time of silence, the Communion Prayer - and even the announcements - to build up the Body of Christ in practical ways.

I encourage you to use well the time after Communion to say thanks, to express your gratitude.

1) Gratitude - taking the time to thank Jesus, and
2) Eucharistic coherence - not acting or speaking against the commandments
3) These two practices enable us to give our lives for others.

"As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup," says the Apostle Paul, "you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." Amen.


*from Jan De Volder, "The Spirit of Father Damien" Ignatius Press, 2010, p.167).

**Aparecida Document of the Latin American bishops. (For context see Pope Francis: The Pope From the End of the Earth by Thomas J. Craughwell)

Versión Castellana

From Archives (Corpus Christi):

2018 (Year B): It's Good to Have a Body
2017 (Year A): Life in Christ Week 10: High Point
2016 (Year C): Not a Prize for the Perfect
2015 (Year B): Through Him Week 1: A Dynamic Presence
2014 (Year A): Like Someone Dying of Hunger
2013 (Year C): Eucharistic Coherence
2012 (Year B): Afflicted with Hunger
2011 (Year A): Most Precious Possession
2010 (Year C): Why Do I Have To Go To Mass?
2009 (Year B): What Have I Given You?
2008 (Year A): Who May Receive Communion?
2007 (Year C): Our Daily Bread
2006 (Year B): Language of the Body
2005 (Year A): Reverence for Eucharist
2004 (Year C): Communion for Kerry?
2003 (Year B): To Worship His Body and Blood
2002 (Year A): Broken Bread
2001 (Year C): The Eucharist Makes It Through
2000 (Year B): Combatting Impatience
1999 (Year A): Notes for Homilist
1998 (Year C): This is My Body
1997 (Year A): Jesus: True Bread of Life (How to Receive and Reverence the Eucharist)

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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(May 2013)

Eucharistic Procession and Adoration: June 2, beginning with exposition at 8 am, procession down Columbia St., Kelsey to Main, Main to Dickinson, concluding in church with Benediction at 9 am. (We will be making this Eucharistic Procession simultaneously with Pope Francis in Rome.)

Procesion y Adoracion Eucaristica el 2 de junio de 8 a 9 am

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru