Adoring, worshiping and loving Jesus in the Eucharist

| Deacon Christopher Gernetzke | November 6, 2014 | 0 Comments
In this 2012 file photo, bishops from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska concelebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. CNS/Paul Haring

In this 2012 file photo, bishops from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska concelebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. CNS/Paul Haring

A few years back, during summer break from college seminary, I had the privilege of accompanying my bishop, His Excellency Robert C. Morlino, to Rome for a couple of weeks. While we were there, Pope Benedict XVI was celebrating the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Body and Blood of Christ) at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, followed by a eucharistic procession to St. Mary Major, which is located nearby. The Basilica of St. John Lateran is grand and extremely beautiful — the body of the church lined with life-size statues of the apostles, the floor and pillars made of marble and flourishing details leafed in gold.

Since I was with a bishop, I had the honor of vesting in cassock and surplice and being seated in the sanctuary with the priest assistants and bishops. When the Holy Father processed in, I realized that I would be about 15 feet from him as he celebrated Mass. When the time came for the eucharistic procession, the Holy Father exposed the blessed sacrament and knelt in prayer for what seemed like eternity but was probably about 20 minutes.

While we were all kneeling there with the Holy Father, adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, it occurred to me that the pope, a man who is famous throughout the world and whom countless Catholics dream of the opportunity to see in their lifetime,  was not focused primarily on all those gathered there but on allowing our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to speak to the depths of his soul.

This is what our Lord is doing in this Sunday’s Gospel. He cleanses the temple, casting out the moneychangers that facilitated the temple tax and the vendors selling animals for the temple sacrifices. Jesus Christ institutes a new order of worship. No longer will we worship by simply offering animals in place of man for man’s sins, nor will we pay the temple tax to make everything right for the sake of observing the law. Christ casts this out. We are now to join Jesus Christ in offering the one sacrifice that he offers. This is the Eucharist — the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, eternally offered to the father through the Holy Spirit for our sins. Our Lord comes so that each of us might be saved, that we might truly encounter the God who desires to save us, to love us, to be united to us.

The reality of adoring, worshiping and loving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist was profoundly deepened in that beautiful basilica with our beloved Holy Father. While it is most fitting that we worship in beautiful churches and give respect and have a deep filial affection for our Holy Father, these must never let anything impede each of us from falling down in utter awe and heartfelt adoration of our Lord, Jesus Christ — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — offered for us in the Mass and desiring to love us at all times.

Deacon Gernetzke is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of Madison, Wis. His teaching parish is St. Maximilian Kolbe in Delano. His home parish is St. Paul in Evansville, Wis.


 

Sunday, Nov. 9
The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Readings

  • Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
  • 1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
  • John 2:13-22

Reflection
What do you need in order to allow the Lord in the Eucharist to speak to the depths of your soul?

 

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Category: Sunday Scriptures