I love going to new churches when I’m on vacation and away from home. This morning my wife, daughter and I attended Our Lady of the Cove Catholic Church in Kimberling City, Missouri, while we are vacationing at a family reunion. Our Lady of the Cove is a relatively small but beautiful church and it was packed to the gills this morning, the Feast of Corpus Christi. It seemed that many in the congregation were visitors like us. Even the priest was visiting from St. Louis while the regular pastor was on vacation.
As I was staring at the image of Christ hanging on the cross behind the altar, I heard the lector read this passage:
“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal spirit, offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
To myself I prayed, “Lord Jesus, you gave Your life for me such that, through You, I have been redeemed and may have eternal life. Thank you!”
A few minutes later as I knelt after receiving Holy Communion, I also prayed, “Dear Jesus, You not only gave Your life for me, but now, through this Holy Eucharist, You give Your life to me so that I may be renewed in You.”
Then, in a moment of enlightenment, I realized, perhaps not for the first time but never more clearly, the connection between the two. The word, Eucharist, is Greek for Thanksgiving. By my acceptance of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, His gift of life to me, I am declaring my thanksgiving to Him for His sacrifice for me.
I love being Catholic! I hope you do, too! God bless you.
(Receiving the Eucharist on the Feast of Corpus Christi was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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