Dear Parishioners and Friends,
As we celebrate Fathers’ Day today, a few verses from Matthew’s Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 7:7-11) come to mind: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you … how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”
As our earthly fathers gave us life and guided us in our growing years; who taught us the values of principles of our faith; who made many sacrifices to educate us – as I know my own father did; how much more does our heavenly Father give us all the good things we need in this life?
Perhaps the greatest gift our divine Father gave us was the gift of his own beloved Son, Jesus, who in turn gave us an even greater gift: the Eucharist, his Body and Blood to nourish us as we make our way through this life and the blessed hope of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. So, on this day when we celebrate both Fathers’ Day and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we give thanks for the gift of our fathers as well as the gift of the Father’s Son in the Eucharist.
A brief conversation with a parishioner after Mass last Sunday was a beautiful reminded of how precious the gift of the Eucharist is for us when she said that the Eucharist is the most important thing in her life, and that she could never live without receiving it. I know that this is how most of us feel about the Eucharist – it is a necessary element of our life as Christians, and we would be impoverished—malnourished, if you will—without it. One of the hardest parts of the coronavirus shutdown was the inability to receive the Eucharist on a weekly basis. I’d like to think that the period of imposed fasting from the Eucharist helped us to treasure it all the more. As Pope Francis said just a year ago: “When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus…knows we are sinners; he knows we make many mistakes, but he does not give up on joining his life to ours. He knows that we need it, because the Eucharist is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners. This is why he exhorts us: ‘Do not be afraid! Take and eat.’”
We need the gift of the Eucharist because it is Christ himself in the form of bread and wine. It may be difficult at times to believe that such an enormous presence could be contained within a small piece of bread or a sip of wine, but all our doubts will only be answered fully in the wedding feast of the Kingdom of Heaven. Until then, we come forward as a community of faith here on earth to receive the Father’s greatest gift – the even greater gift of his Son in the Eucharist.
Looking back at last weekend, I am also reminded of the giftedness of our parish as we bade farewell to Trudi Campbell as she embarks on a new journey to South Carolina after serving us for 18 years as our Director of Volunteer Ministry, and the many parishioners who give of their time and talent in service to others. It was my privilege to award Trudi the Francis Medal of Holy Name Province in recognition of her dedication and service in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. We are all grateful for her witness to the Gospel teaching we hear from Jesus today: “Give them some food yourselves.”
We are also grateful for the many talented musicians in our parish who presented a wonderful concert of choral and organ music last Sunday afternoon prior to the 5:00 PM Mass. We were literally fed with food for the soul and spirit as we listened to music of quiet meditation and joyful praise.
I would like to wish all our fathers, grandfathers and godfathers many blessings on your special day! Through the intercession of St. Joseph, may God bless you abundantly!
Blessings on your week ahead.
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M.