Saint Peter Julian Eymard asks the question, “Why has our Lord willed to establish so close a relation between the sacrament of the Eucharist and his death?” (The Real Presence by Saint Peter Julian Eymard). Growing up as a born Catholic, it never struck me before until some comedian pointed out in a monologue how shocked he was as a schoolchild when he saw the crucifix hanging on the wall and recognized what it depicted. Saint Eymard ponders this image and understands that it reminds us that we too must die to sin and our vicious inclinations.
In the first reading, Saint Paul reminds the Christians from Rome at his time that they had been slaves of sin, but now they are slaves to righteousness. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus our Lord. The crucifix bridges the gap between humanity and the kingdom of God. Let’s suppose we were to put up an animated smiling face of a televangelist that tells us of the good things God has in store for us but neglects to tell us of our work to get there. The crucifix is obviously not that!
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he has not come to bring peace on earth. His message will divide people, even families. The Psalms console us; he is like a tree, planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:3).
Let Us Pray:
In all my doubts, perplexities, and temptations. Jesus, help me. (Excerpt from Thomas Hardon, S.J.)
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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