June 16, 2006


In practice and in attitude, are we forgetting that the Eucharist is a covenant?

When our Lord first gave us his Eucharist, he called his Blood "the Blood of the new and everlasting Covenant." With that declaration he echoes Moses' words in ratifying the ancient Mt. Sinai Covenant. "Behold the blood of the Covenant!" [Exodus 24:8]

The Mt. Sinai Covenant took place with God DEMANDING reverence for his untouchably holy mountain at whose foot he decreed an altar of piled stones unmarked by human tools.

The Mt. Sinai Covenant— just as any covenant— is a life-and-death mutual transaction, by which both parties in the Covenant vow to lay their lives on the line for each other.

By our casual liturgical manners today, we fail to let the New and Everlasting Covenant speak of the implicit, solemn and dangerous demand Christ is requiring of us by giving us his Eucharist AS a covenant.

We do not "receive" the Eucharist with right intention if we fail to understand that it is a COVENANT, that is, a binding two-way "faithful-unto-death" vow. One never “receives” a covenant. A covenant is always agreed to and entered.

ALL SOLEMNITY is owed to the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass, simply by the very nature of a covenant.

- - - -

I have posted a homily for the solemnity on my "homily blog".
Click HERE for it.


Blogger Kevin said...

Incidentally, this was the same message we got from the priest at Mass here. "Receiving the Eucharist has gotten passive", said he, "we must remember that the Eucharist means that the Lord is with us and we must make more of an effort to be LIKE him."

Thanks for the message you sent me, Fr. Stephanos.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Okay. Question: (sort of) --- The modern progressive parish I go to sometimes has a new recently ordained young priest from the Philipines. He's very orthodox and for Corpus Christi talked in his homily about the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He referenced the Catechism and spoke the Truth without watering anything down.

But he never taught us how to apply this to out lives. Do you think I should talk to him to give him some pointers on making his homily more engaging? Like to show how the Sacrifice applies to people's everyday lives? His sermon just sounded like a lecture. Maybe it's just me, or maybe he just needs experience.

Many thanks for your help Father Stephanos!

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

I'm new to the liturgical debates going on within the Church, but the more I read, the more I feel that one of the consequences of implementing Vatican II here in the U.S. has been a loss of the sacred.

In trying to make the liturgy more "meaningful", or "understandable", or "approachable", or "inclusive", or "experiential", or whatever, we have instead made it ordinary, pedestrian, and mundane.

I think believers are hungering for the sacred which means a liturgy which is radically different than one would find on television or in a supermarket.

If I could write well, this would be the subject of the first post of my own blog.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Andrew, not having heard his homily myself, I'm not able to suggest anything.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Deacon DW said...

A good liturgy is like a good homily, it speaks to us on many levels. Part of being able to communicate the gravity or importance of the feast day, whether it is a high solemn occasion like Corpus Christi or just a weekday in ordinary time, is to know the parish - know the audience. Sometimes new homilists have trouble doing this simply because they are new. Different styles of doing liturgy speak to us in different ways. My parish, for example, would have a difficult time relating to a strongly traditional liturgy. Besides over 50 percent of them being under 18, it's not what they're accustomed to seeing. I think the same would hold true if we took our LIFE TEEN program to a traditional parish.

I believe that covenant comes through when it's made to be a part of parish life. When everything we do speaks of our commitment to God and his providential care for us then covenant will be an unmistakable component of our liturgy.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Andrew S. said...

Well I guess he's just young. He's orthodox and loyal to the Pope and all but I think he needs to show how certain things apply to people's lives. I guess he's just new and needs experience.

9:00 PM  

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