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Christmas and the Eucharist ^ | Unknown | Fr. John A. Hardon

Posted on 12/21/2006 1:47:30 PM PST by stfassisi

Christmas and the Eucharist by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Of the many subjects that we could talk about on Christmas day, I thought the most appropriate would be to speak on Christmas and the Eucharist. There are many aspects to their relationship, but I believe that there are mainly three: (1) both Christmas and the Eucharist are facts; (2) both reveal a mystery; and (3) both are meant to teach us a profound and not easily learned lesson.

Christmas, first of all, is a fact of history. In a point of time and at a definable place the God of heaven and earth was born of a woman, and came to live among us as man. It is a fact that the infinite God became, unexplainably, a finite creature. It is a fact to which historians attest but which we know is no mere statistic of history; it is, rather, a fact planned by God from all eternity. This is the fact of Christmas: the Word actually became Flesh.

What is the fact of the Eucharist? It is that the same Jesus Who was born on earth not only became man but remains man. He not only came into the world, He is in the world. In a word, He came to stay. The Eucharist is Christmas prolonged, because faith tells us that once God became man, He decided to remain man. From all the reaches of past eternity, God had only been God. But having once taken on human flesh, into now the future reaches of eternity, God will always remain man. And this God-Man is here; Bethlehem is wherever there is a Catholic Church or chapel in which Christ is present. These are the two facts that we commemorate on Christmas day.

But Christmas and the Eucharist are not only facts, they are also mysteries. What is the mystery of Christmas? The mystery is the humanly incredible reality of why God became man. He did not have to. God did not even have to make the world, and within the world, He did not have to make us. Except for the love of God, we are all empty unoccupied spaces on earth. But, having decided to make the world and to make us, God also decided that once man had sinned, He would redeem man. God might have redeemed man by an act of His divine Will; He chose not to do so. He chose, rather, to become man, so that as man He might not only, by some fiat of His human freedom redeem us, but might have a mortal flesh and a soul capable of suffering. In a word, the mystery of Christmas is the mystery of God's love that chose to take on our human form in order to show His love for us by suffering.

The only ultimate reason for Bethlehem is Jerusalem; the only reason in God's mind for becoming a Child was so that He might, as man, die on the Cross. In a word, the mystery of Christmas is the mystery of God's unfathomable love that wants to suffer. God took on human flesh so that He might be able to endure pain. That is the mystery of Christmas, the mystery of God's love, in order that loving, He might endure the Cross.

What is the mystery of the Eucharist? It is the same. You would think that God's love would have been satisfied with His becoming man and as man living, suffering and dying for our sins. And having once died, rising from the dead and returning as man to the Father from whom He came. But no, the mystery of God's love is that He invented a way of showing His love for us not only by being with us and near us but God even invented a way of being inside of us. All of this tells us a lot about what love means.

Love wants to show that it loves. It is not satisfied with sentiments or words. Love wants to prove its love in deeds; better, it wants to show its love in pain. Love wants to be near the one it loves, to be united with the one it loves. All of this is hidden behind the mystery of the Eucharist, made possible by the mystery of Christmas, because these two mysteries are really one. The Eucharist is merely an extension, a continuation, of what happened 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. Because Mary gave birth to the Son of God, we now have the Flesh of the Son of God near us, with us, and when we receive Him in Communion, within us.

Finally, what is the lesson? The lesson of Christmas and the Eucharist must be obvious by now. God does nothing in vain. He did not choose to become man nor does He remain man in our midst except that He wants to evoke from us something of the same kind of love that He showed during His life on earth and still shows us in His life in the Eucharist. Jesus Christ gives us His Flesh and Blood to adore, worship and nourish our souls on, so that we might live with His life. What He wants us to do therefore, and this is the lesson, is to love Him as He has been loving us.

How has He been loving us? First of all, He loves us in simplicity. Is there anything more simple than a child, or anything more simple than the round wafer of the Eucharist? God wants us to love Him in simplicity. Above all, we must have no duplicity with God. He wants our whole heart, not just part of it. We are to love Him, therefore, simply, unqualifyingly, totally.

God wants us to love Him humbly. Is there anything more lowly than a baby? They are speechless, helpless; they must be fed and carried from place to place. And is there anything more unpretentious than what seems to be a piece of bread and a sip of wine? Yet as we know, real humility is always greatness hiding itself out of love. What a hard lesson for us to learn, to love this God of ours humbly.

We are to love God and, allowing Him to do with us as He pleases, we are to love God obediently. When God came into the world, He came as Scripture tells us, obedient first of all to His Father's Will; then, as a Child and through His growing manhood, He was obedient to His mother Mary and to Joseph. In the Eucharist, too, He is totally submissive. The moment a duly ordained priest pronounces the words of Consecration, Jesus Christ comes down on the altar, He obeys. This is our faith. And perhaps this is the hardest lesson to learn, to love God obediently. It means, as we know, obeying God not only interiorly or according to our own understanding or interpretation of God's Will, it means obeying God as that divine Will is explained and interpreted for us by His very fallible and weak human creatures.

These are the lessons that God wants us to learn from Christmas as a historical event and from Christmas as a perennial reality because, as you see, the Eucharist is Christmas. Believing in Christ's Real Presence, we have the grave responsibility of invoking, in faith, this Jesus, begging Him, pleading with Him that He might grant those graces—if need be, miraculous graces—that the sinful world He came to redeem so desperately needs. Jesus redeemed the world, but it is not redeemed unless we cooperate with His grace. And we must cooperate with His grace not only for ourselves, but for the whole world, so that Jesus' coming into the world will not, for any soul, have been in vain.

TOPICS: Catholic; Orthodox Christian
KEYWORDS: catholic; christmas
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To: Iscool
Jesus is in the Eucharist.

Date: 2005-05-05

Physician Tells of Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano

Edoardo Linoli Verified Authenticity of the Phenomenon

ROME, MAY 5, 2005 ( Dr. Edoardo Linoli says he held real cardiac tissue in his hands, when some years ago he analyzed the relics of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy.

The phenomenon dates back to the eighth century. A Basilian monk, who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the sacred species, was offering Mass, in a church dedicated to St. Legontian in the town of Lanciano.

When he pronounced the words of the consecration, the host was miraculously changed into physical flesh and the wine into physical blood.

Later the blood coagulated and the flesh remained the same. These relics were kept in the cathedral.

Linoli, a professor of anatomy and pathological histology, and of chemistry and clinical microscopy, and former head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo, is the only doctor who has analyzed the relics of the miracle of Lanciano. His findings have stirred interest in the scientific world.

At the initiative of Archbishop Pacifico Perantoni of Lanciano, and of the provincial minister of the Franciscan Conventuals of Abruzzo, and with authorization from Rome, in November 1970 the Franciscans of Lanciano decided to have the relics examined scientifically.

Linoli was entrusted with the study. He was assisted by Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, retired professor of human anatomy at the University of Siena.

Linoli extracted parts of the relics with great care and then analyzed the remains of "miraculous flesh and blood." He presented his findings on March 4, 1971.

His study confirmed that the flesh and blood were of human origin. The flesh was unequivocally cardiac tissue, and the blood was of type AB.

Consulted by ZENIT, Linoli explained that "as regards the flesh, I had in my hand the endocardium. Therefore, there is no doubt at all that it is cardiac tissue."

In regard to the blood, the scientist emphasized that "the blood group is the same as that of the man of the holy Shroud of Turin, and it is particular because it has the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East regions."

"The AB blood group of the inhabitants of the area in fact has a percentage that extends from 0.5% to 1%, while in Palestine and the regions of the Middle East it is 14-15%," Linoli said.

Linoli's analysis revealed no traces of preservatives in the elements, meaning that the blood could not have been extracted from a corpse, because it would have been rapidly altered.

Linoli's report was published in "Quaderni Sclavo di Diagnostica Clinica e di Laboratori" in 1971.

In 1973, the Higher Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed a scientific commission to verify the Italian doctor's conclusions. The work was carried out over 15 months with a total of 500 examinations. The conclusions of all the researches confirmed what had been stated and published in Italy.

The extract of the scientific research of WHO's medical commission was published in New York and Geneva in 1976, confirming science's inability to explain the phenomenon.

Today, Linoli participated in a congress on Eucharistic miracles organized by the Science and Faith master's program of Rome's Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, in cooperation with the St. Clement I Pope and Martyr Institute, on the occasion of the Year of the Eucharist under way.

"Eucharistic miracles are extraordinary phenomena of a different type," Legionary Father Rafael Pascual, director of the congress, told Vatican Radio. "For example, there is the transformation of the species of bread and wine into flesh and blood, the miraculous preservation of consecrated Hosts, and some Hosts that shed blood."

"In Italy, these miracles have occurred in several places," he said, "but we also find them in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain " and some in North America.

21 posted on 12/22/2006 7:27:54 PM PST by stfassisi ("Above all gifts that Christ gives his beloved is that of overcoming self"St Francis Assisi)
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To: Iscool
So you say that the eucharist is just a symbol. And Jesus was speaking only symbolically when the 10,000 left Him after hearing the Bread of Life discourse? And everyone had it all wrong until around, what was it, 1500 Anno Domine? I am so glad that you are here to clear all this up after 2000 years.

But what makes your interpretatyion of scripture better than he 28,000 other protestant ones?

22 posted on 12/22/2006 7:36:33 PM PST by RichardMoore
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To: RichardMoore
But what makes your interpretatyion of scripture better than he 28,000 other protestant ones?

A matter of honesty...I have noticed that a Catholic will rarely, if ever, comment on a scripture reference other than to post a list of Catholic apologetics on the subject such as the one pointed out in Zechariah, or any one for that matter...

You haven't even bothered to adress the issue either but thought you'd throw your 2 cents worth in, in support of your church...Nice contribution...

23 posted on 12/23/2006 3:05:36 AM PST by Iscool (Anybody tired??? I have a friend who says "Come unto me, and I'll give you rest"...)
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To: stfassisi
Do you reject Christ,s Eucharistic miracles and attribute these miracles to the works of the devil?

Given the Catholic religion's position of disdain for the word of God, I'd say, Yes...

Are you willing to be be like the Pharisees and commit unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit in denying these miracles?

Denying your so-called miracles is an unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit??? Here's some good advice:

1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

I can name you a dozen people, right now, who have seen spirits, ghosts, apparitions, and any number of unexplainable events...And there has never been any question whether these things came from God...And nobody's callin' them miracles...

24 posted on 12/23/2006 3:36:30 AM PST by Iscool (Anybody tired??? I have a friend who says "Come unto me, and I'll give you rest"...)
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To: Iscool
Given the Catholic religion's position of disdain for the word of God, I'd say, Yes...

May God have mercy on your soul.

I suggest you leave this Catholic only thread that you decided to invade.

Don,t ever ping me again.

25 posted on 12/23/2006 5:41:43 AM PST by stfassisi ("Above all gifts that Christ gives his beloved is that of overcoming self"St Francis Assisi)
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To: Iscool

Yes, the Bread that Jesus gives us will enable us to live in Heaven where we will never be hungry or thirsty again. What passage were you quoting here?

26 posted on 12/23/2006 7:08:25 AM PST by RichardMoore
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To: stfassisi

Do you want our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him seldom. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament are powerful and indispensable means of overcoming the attacks of the devil. Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the devil will be powerless against you.

-- St. John Bosco

27 posted on 12/23/2006 7:30:00 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: stfassisi
For those who are doubters to read:

Christmas and the Eucharist

The Body of Christ?

Holy Sacrifice, Living Sacrament

Knights of the Eucharist

The Banquet of Corpus Christi - "Why did Jesus give us His Body and Blood?"

The Eucharist: Eternity and Time Together

Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation? Confirmation and First Eucharist together? (Vanity)

Reflections of Cardinal Ratzinger on the Eucharist


The Eucharist in Scripture - Part 1 - Old Testament


New Plenary Indulgence to Mark Year of the Eucharist

Kneeling and Faith in the Eucharist

The Immaculate Conception and the Eucharist, a course in Christian culture in Tashkent

The Year of the Eucharist by Bishop Donald Wuerl

"While We're At It": What can we do to show that the Eucharist is a communal activity?

28 posted on 12/23/2006 7:35:26 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: stfassisi

**Given the Catholic religion's position of disdain for the word of God, I'd say, Yes...**

Catholic read Scripture daily!!!

What is the problem in some persisting in their unbelief?

"Lord, grant me belief, and banish my unbelief."

Lord, may they be enlightened.................;o=time;s=readings

29 posted on 12/23/2006 7:41:31 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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