Preaching the Eucharist, 3

Are we boldly preaching the Eucharist in the world? What message are we sending to those around us who may not believe? Do we have a message to send?

By the tabernacle in every church, there is a sanctuary lamp. It burns steadfast day and night, telling all who enter where the Eucharistic Lord dwells. Let it be a strong symbol for us. As Our Lord, Jesus Christ has said “You are the light of the world.” Heat always moves from a hotter object to a colder one which means we must be hot in order to spread that light.  It must be an authentic light, not dirty or faint or flickering. The primary way we evangelize is by the means of authentic Catholicism. What does it mean to be “authentic”? When we say a food is authentic, we often mean that it comes from the source, from a wellspring of tradition and wisdom that has carefully prepared the dishes over time, something that is diligent and loving, not thrown together. In a way, we can speak of an “authentic” Catholicism like this. However it is much more.

When a parish community is carrying the Blessed Sacrament through the streets, in broad daylight amidst many passerby, holding candles, swinging incense, singing a hymn that is well over 500 years old. That is authentic Catholicism.

A priest in his black clericals and white collar, a purple stole draped over his shoulders, listening to confessions in a busy airport. That is authentic Catholicism.

Standing on the sidewalk, praying a rosary, quietly reading the Liturgy of the Hours in a crowded cafe, that is authentic Catholicism. Visiting a sick man who is beaten down, weary and neglected, staying to pray with him, that is authentic Catholicism.  Stopping amidst your daily errands to buy a sandwich for a homeless man outside of Walmart, that is authentic Catholicism.

When someone visits your parish and asks: “Why should I come here instead of at the Baptist church down the road?” and you tell them: “Because Jesus Christ, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, stands here at the altar, loving you and asking you to love Him- so He can give you everything,” that is authentic Catholicism.

Not shrinking away, not trying to hide or compromise. Loving God and loving the other. Being an ear ready to listen to those who are hurting, having lips ready to explain the faith to anyone who asks, a heart willing to feed the humanity’s hunger for God. A timid “yellow-bellied” faith that tries to blend in and be safe won’t move anyone. It won’t address the needs of our time. A mere mediocrity will not speak to our generation nor will a faith which is only a matter of duty and not a matter of conviction. As Scripture says:” I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” – Revelation 3:16

Our mission as a Eucharistic people is to feed the hungering world, to give them God. The love of Jesus Christ compels us to have a Catholicism which will move and shake the world. We are called to make a bold witness, unafraid, unabashed, foolishly in love, willing to say “Yes Lord, we believe.”

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