A Message From Father Brian

Our June 4th celebration of Pentecost marked, among other things, the festive conclusion of the Easter season.  Since then, the Church’s liturgy has returned to what we call the “Ordinary Time” of the year.  Even so, the weekends that follow Pentecost feel anything but “ordinary,” inviting  us as they do to celebrate two of the most solemn feasts of the year, namely Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi.  Last Sunday, we were invited to delve into the unfathomable mystery of God’s very self . . . our Church’s age-old conviction that the Lord, our God, is eternally One, and yet somehow, wondrously, exists as a Trinity of Persons whom we have come to call the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Today’s Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (or
Corpus Christi) asks us to give our hearts and minds to the Gift that is ours for the taking at each and every celebration of the Mass—the gift of Christ’s own precious Body and Blood.  One might wonder why the Church chooses to highlight the Eucharist on one particular day of the liturgical year, when in fact EVERY Mass is meant to be a festival of wonder and gratitude for the Lord’s gift of himself under the appearance of bread and wine.  Perhaps our fickle human nature holds the key to that question:  if I were to hit the lottery today, I’m sure I’d be so completely swept up in the astonishment and glee of such a stroke of good luck that I could hardly breathe.  If, however, I were to win the lottery every single day . . . my excitement might begin to taper off after a couple of weeks’ worth, even with the winnings still piling up! Unfortunately, many of us do allow even the miraculous to become “ho-hum” when it comes to us frequently.  And that’s precisely the challenge we face in having the Bread of Life offered to us whenever we choose—even on a daily basis.  We may be holding in our hands, or placing on our tongue, the living presence of the crucified and risen Son of God . . . but our minds may be far more caught up in the kids’ soccer game or what   to have for dinner.

Today’s beautiful feast gives us the opportunity to REMEMBER—to remember Who it is present for us on the altar; to   remember how marvelously we are loved that the Savior should give himself to us as food and drink; to remember that, as Jesus himself said, “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you cannot have life in you.”  We are the objects of so wondrous a love, that our Lover wishes to become part of who we are, and thereby transform our lives into
his life.  May the gift of the Eucharist be for us the greatest of treasures—on this particular Sunday in June, and always.

And may our patron and brother, St. Lawrence, pray for us!  God love you.

(And a very happy Father’s Day!)



Just for fun—and some ongoing education—each week’s bulletin offers a question on our Catholic spirituality and tradition. Enjoy!

Question: A few weeks ago, I was visiting the Blessed Sacrament chapel in St. Elizabeth’s Church, in Melville.  The bronze door to the tabernacle features a pelican, which seemed to be feeding her chicks.  Strange imagery for a tabernacle—what’s the connection?

Answer:  Throughout the centuries, the Church  has used an amazing variety of symbols to represent the person of Jesus Christ.  This was especially true in the Middle Ages, when one such symbol for Christ was the pelican.  It   was believed (erroneously, of course), that the pelican would tear open its own breast, so that its chicks could feed on its blood.  The connection with the sacrament of the Eucharist (which we celebrate with special solemnity today) is not so hard to see:  Christ is like the pelican, his side torn open by the soldier's lance, and his blood given to sustain his little ones (in other words, ourselves).  The image may seem a bit grisly to us in the 21st century, but it was not uncommon in decades and centuries past.  One has to admire the imaginative connections made by those who have gone before us, trying as we still do, to create a bridge between the world we know and the unfathomable mystery of Christ.  






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