June 2, 2013

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today is “Corpus Christi Sunday, a feast established to remind us that, even as Lent and Easter are over, the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection and his continued presence on Earth remains with us in a most sublime way in the Eucharist. In particular, we remember that the bread and wine really become the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ himself—His Real Presence among us. Just as surely as he was bodily present on the Cross, at the Resurrection, and as He ascended to His Father in Heaven, he is also surely present on the altar under the appearance of bread and wine.

The Book of Revelation tells us that the angels and saints in heaven continually “fell down and worshipped” Jesus. So let’s consider how we react to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
— Do we genuflect before Our Lord present in the tabernacle whenever we enter the church (usually before sitting in our pew) or whenever we pass in front of the tabernacle?
— Do we chat loudly in church as if the Lord of Heaven were not present?
— Do we drop by church during the day or evening to visit Our Lord in the tabernacle?
— Do we spend time with Our Lord during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament?
— How do we dress at Mass?
— Like we are going to the Wedding Feast of Our King, or going to the beach?
— Do we remember that skimpy clothing can be a near occasion of sin for others, and so dress modestly at Mass?
— During Mass, do we focus prayerfully on the miracle transpiring on the altar, especially during and after the consecration?
— Do we receive Holy Communion reverently?
— Do we observe the Eucharist fast for one hour before Communion?
— Do we examine our consciences so we don’t receive unworthily (i.e., if we need to confess mortal sins or are otherwise prohibited from receiving)?
— Do we approach prayerfully, or are we looking around or laughing?
— Do we show some sign of reverence immediately before receiving Holy Communion: bowing or genuflecting, or even kneeling?
— If we receive on the tongue, to avoid any chance of the Host being dropped:
— Do we stand close enough to the priest, open our mouths and extend our tongues?
— Do we hold still our heads, tongues and mouths (not lurching, licking or biting) until we receive and the priest removes his hand?
— If we receive in our hand:
— Do we wash our hands before Mass?
— Do we extend both hands, one on top of the other, forming a throne for Our King?
— Do we immediately step aside and reverently consume the Host in the sight of the priest?
— Do we examine our hands to make sure no particles remain?
— Do we stay until Mass is over, even staying afterwards to give thanks, or do we rush out of church as soon as possible?
— Do we share our faith in the Eucharist with others?
— Do we teach our children to do these things?

I am continually moved by the Eucharistic reverence at St. Raymond’s. But sometimes we forget—myself included. And so we redouble our efforts so as to give Him due worship.

Eucharistic Procession. To help us to refocus on our faith in the Real Presence, today, Sunday, June 2, immediately after the 12:15 Mass, we will have our annual Corpus Christi Eucharistic Procession, walking with the Eucharist outside of the church while singing the Lord’s praises. Please join us in this ancient and eloquent witness to our faith in and love of our Eucharistic Lord—and bring the children!

Priesthood Ordinations. Next Saturday, 7 deacons, including our own parishioner, Deacon Nicolas Barnes, will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood for the Diocese of Arlington. We pray for them in this last week of preparation, that they may be good, holy and courageous priests. “Father Barnes” will celebrate his First Mass the following day, Sunday, June 9, at 12:15, here at St. Raymond’s. There will be a light reception in the Parish Hall immediately afterward. All are invited to both the Mass and reception!

Some have asked for gift suggestions for “Fr. Barnes.” Here’s my best advice. Since a priest promises to live a “simple life,” it’s usually best to let him choose for himself the possessions he has. That and the fact that he will need many things of a more personal nature, I strongly recommend simply giving cash. Not very personal, I know, but much appreciated and much more helpful than a giving something he will never use.

Boy Scouts. Last week the Scouts changed their policy regarding “gays.” Like most of you, I was very disappointed by this. I have stated my position previously, but Bishop Loverde, who shares my disappointment, has asked all the pastors to refrain from further statements or changes for a few weeks until he has decided on his recommendations or policies for us. I gladly yield to His Excellency’s request.

Summer Begins. I hope that all of you have a wonderful summer with restful vacations, or productive work in summer jobs or new careers. I also remind you of a few things:
— There is no vacation from Jesus, so keep up your prayer and moral life, and go to Sunday Mass, unless it is really seriously impractical when you’re travelling.
— Remember to try to dress properly for Mass, as noted above.
— Please try to keep up your regular financial support for the parish—the bills have to be paid whether you’re here or not. Thanks!

My Dad. Last week many of you prayed for my Dad, Dan De Celles, who was very sick. It seems to have worked: Dad is on the mend. Thanks for your prayers, and for your patience as I was rather distracted from my regular pastoral duties.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles