Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Jesus Thirsts


Dear Parishioners,

Recently, I took the time to see the film Jesus Thirsts: The Miracle of the Eucharist. It had a short run in the theaters in our area as many independent religious films often do. However, I was truly impressed with the quality and content of the film. Providentially, I viewed it the day before we began our 40 Hours devotion here in St. Thomas More Parish.  It was a wonderful preparation for me as I would begin spending time with the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist over the next three days.

I am not in the business of film promotion, but I take the time to recommend this film as a catechetical tool to help understand what Catholics believe about the Holy Eucharist. I find that so many people are woefully ignorant about many important aspects of the faith—even those with impressive degrees in various fields other than theology. Our society’s understanding of the Holy Eucharist has been greatly influenced by the many other Christian denominations and sects that teach something not in agreement with long-standing Catholic thought.

Let me make one point abundantly clear: the Holy Eucharist is not merely a symbol or reminder of Christ. It is Christ Himself. I do not genuflect to a piece of bread, but to the Lord Jesus, whether on the altar or in the tabernacle. Everyone in the pews should not be invited or encouraged to come up to receive the Lord (Who is God) without a proper understanding of what is being done and certainly Who we are receiving. We are not distributing the Holy Eucharist like some object that everyone in the church is entitled to get. We, as sinners, are all unworthy to approach God. However, Jesus is given to us as believers to nourish and sustain us by the direction and command of the Lord Himself. Do this in memory of Me.  

Please remember Catholics should be in the state of grace when receiving Holy Communion (not conscious of any grave or mortal sin unconfessed in the Sacrament of Penance). Far too often I am dismayed by the manner in which the Lord is received, reminding me more of a person taking and putting a snack in the mouth. How many times at funerals or other Masses with many unchurched visitors where I have had to follow the person down the aisle because they took the consecrated host with them down the aisle and did not receive it immediately in my presence. I also witness those who try to grab the Holy Eucharist or do not know what to do when receiving Holy Communion, where I have to ask: Are you Catholic?

Yes, we are in the midst of a time of Eucharistic Revival in our nation. So let this revival begin with you and me. We need to make sure we are adequately prepared to receive the Lord by being in the state of grace and fasting from food and drink for a minimum of an hour beforehand. We should receive reverently and not grab and go. When receiving on the tongue (which has actually been the Church’s preferred option as we were permitted to receive in the hand in this country by an indult) stick your tongue out fully and close your eyes. I will be sure that the host finds its proper place on the tongue.

Make a proper thanksgiving afterwards in silence. The traditional adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication (ACTS) is a good guideline to follow. Also remember the fact that people come to church primarily to pray and worship. Extended conversation should be in the vestibule or outside of the body of the church to allow those who wish to pray in church to do so.

If we all do our part as individuals, maybe our actions will witness to others that we believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


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