Living Stones 6

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THE SUNDAY EUCHARIST

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FROM THE POPE'S LETTER

It is necessary ˙to stress particularly the Sunday Eucharist and Sunday itself experienced as a special day of faith, the day of the Risen Lord and of the gift of the Spirit, the true weekly Easter. For two thousand years, Christian time has been measured by the memory of that "first day of the week" when the Risen Christ gave the Apostles the gift of peace and of the Spirit. The truth of Christ's Resurrection is the original fact upon which Christian faith is based, an event set at the centre of the mystery of time, prefiguring the last day when Christ will return in glory. We do not know what the new millennium has in store for us, but we are certain that it is safe in the hands of Christ, the "King of kings and Lord of lords"; and precisely by celebrating his Passover not just once a year but every Sunday, the Church will continue to show to every generation "the true fulcrum of history, to which the mystery of the world's origin and its final destiny leads".

...I therefore wish to insist that sharing in the Eucharist should really be the heart of Sunday for every baptized person. It is a fundamental duty, to be fulfilled not just in order to observe a precept but as something felt as essential to a truly informed and consistent Christian life. We are entering a millennium which already shows signs of being marked by a profound interweaving of cultures and religions, even in countries which have been Christian for many centuries. In many regions Christians are, or are becoming, a "little flock" (Lk 12:32 ). This presents them with the challenge, often in isolated and difficult situations, to bear stronger witness to the distinguishing elements of their own identity. The duty to take part in the Eucharist every Sunday is one of these. The Sunday Eucharist which every week gathers Christians together as God's family round the table of the Word and the Bread of Life, is also the most natural antidote to dispersion. It is the privileged place where communion is ceaselessly proclaimed and nurtured.

cf. Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II - Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium),# 35, 36

Take some time of silence to reflect on these words and on the picture on the cover.

A TIME FOR SHARING YOUR FAITH...

-At the Cathedral entrance are three windows that represent the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, for which the Cathedral is named. Shown on the cover is a 'typical depiction' of the Last Supper and the Pelican window. It was believed that the mother pelican, in times of famine, wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. This made for an obvious symbol of self-sacrifice, and thus became applied to Jesus, who, by his blood on the cross redeems the world. Since the pelican's blood is food for the little ones, the connection to the Eucharist, the living memorial of his death and resurrection, is likewise easy to make: Christ feeds his faithful with his own Body and Blood. After spending time reflecting share which image speaks to you more and why.

-How does your experience of the Sunday Eucharist feed you? Has this changed during your life? How?

-How might your parish community better celebrate the Sunday Eucharist?

Take some time of silence to reflect on these words

GOSPEL REFLECTION: (John 6:53 -57)

Jesus said to the crowd, 'I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. Those who do eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I shall raise them up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I live in them. As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me.'