Discern the Body

(Homily for Holy Thursday 2014 for Bilingual Mass)

Message: "Discern the body," St. Paul says. Recognize Jesus in the bread transformed into his Body. Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament - Eucharistic Adoration - brings great blessings.

The homily will be in English, but first a summary in Spanish: La homilia es sobre la importancia de "discernir el cuerpo" - reconocer la presencia de Jesus in la Eucaristia. Trae bendiciones como el ejemplo de un monasterio que recibio vocaciones despues de iniciar Adoracion Eucaristica. Tenemos los ejemplos de dos santos nuevos: Juan Veintitres y Juan Pablo Segundo. Y especialmente San Damiano de Molokai - que rezo ante el Santisimo entre las dos y tres de la manyana y organizo a los leprosos para la Adoracion Perpetua. Les invito participar en la Adoracion Nocturna aqui en nuestra parroquia.

This evening we celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper. At the end of the Mass I will place the Blessed Sacrament in a container called a "monstrance" - and we will have a procession to worship Jesus, present in the Sacrament. Our church will stay open until midnight for Eucharistic Adoration.

St. Paul tells us that on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus took bread and said, "This is my body." A few verses later he tells the Corinthians they must "discern the body," recognize the Body of Christ. We do that when we pray in front of the tabernacle and a worship Jesus in the Eucharist.

Eucharistic worship - recognizing the Body of Christ - brings great blessings. I saw a striking example when I made a retreat at a Benedictine monastery in Canada. They have about a dozen monks in their seventies and eighties, a few in the middle years, but seven in their twenties and an additional five postulants! I said to a monk about my age (late sixties) that it must be be wonderful to have those young monks. He agreed. Then I asked him, "How did you do it?"

He thought, then said, "Prayer." Of course, monks have set hours of prayer every day. But he added, "we started Eucharistic Adoration twice a week to pray for vocations. God has answered those prayers."

In our parish we will expand our Eucharistic Adoration. Besides having our church open during the day hours and on First Friday for all-night Adoration, we will have exposition after the Saturday evening Mass until 8 am, when we will conclude with Benediction. Many people have made a commitment to a specific hour, but I especially need men who can come during the night - to intercede for their families and for our parish. Last Sunday we heard Jesus ask, "could you not keep watch with me for one hour?"

Eucharistic Adoration - the Holy Hour - has been important to great saints like Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, whom Pope Francis will canonize at the end of the this month. Soon-to-be St. John the Twenty-Third made a daily hour. He said, ""My life seems destined to be spent in the light irradiating from the (Blessed Sacrament), and it is the heart of Jesus that I must look to for the solution of all my troubles." He told people that by visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament "a flood of graces will descend upon your family and the world."

I'd like to mention another saint whose life centered on Blessed Sacrament: St. Damien of Molokai. This might surprise you because we think of Father Damien as a man of action, constantly at work serving the lepers. Yes, but his action flowed from prayer. He made a regular Holy Hour between 2 and 3 in the morning. After gaining the trust of the people, he organized Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Because of their physical weakness, he asked them to take half-hour turns. Fr. Damien noticed that when they were too weak to come to the church, they observed their time of adoration from their sick beds.

Fr. Damien served Christ in the most marginalized. He literally washed their feet, but he also taught them to see Christ in the humble form of bread. "Discern the body," St. Paul says. Recognize Jesus in the bread transformed into his Body. Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament - Eucharistic Adoration - brings great blessings. As the Procession hymn says:

Down in adoration falling
This great Sacrament we hail;
Faith will tell us Christ is present
When our human senses fail. Amen.


Holy Thursday Intentions (bilingual)

From Archives:

2013 Homily: Peter's Lesson of Humility (bilingual)
2012: Blood Shed For Us (bilingual)
2011: The Love of Loves (bilingual)
2010: Foot Washing & Celibacy
2009: Join the Nearest Household
2008: Grandma, Can I Wash Your Feet?
2007: The Passover Lamb Must Be Eaten
2006: A New Friend at the Banquet
2005: Our True Companion
2004: A Girl's Heroic Holy Hour
2003: Do This!
2002: Humiliation of Priesthood
2001: Super-Abundance of Mercy
2000: Washing of Feet & Eucharist
1999: Family Struggles & Strengths

Other Homilies

Homilias en Castellano Para Jueves Santo:

2010: Lavatorio de Pies y el Celibato
2009: Que Se Junte Con Los Vecinos
2008: Abuelita, Puedo Lavarte Los Pies?
2007: Hay Que Comer el Cordero Pascual
2006: Un Nuevo Amigo al Banquete
2005: Nuestro Verdadero Companero
2004: La Hora Santa Heroica de una Nina
2003: Hagan Esto!
2002: Super-Abundancia de Misericordia

Otras Homilias

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Sunday Homilies

Audio Files of Homilies

Podcasts of homilies (website of my niece, Sara)

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Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

Parish Picture Album

(April 2014)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru