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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fr. T. Coonan Homily 7-29-2012 Eucharist: Sacrament of True Unity


Fr. T. Coonan Homily 7-29-2012 Unity in Communion with Christ

As I was praying this week with today's readings, I was reflecting on how Unity is so important in life, whether it is with our families, friends, co-workers, etc.

Friday night I was watching the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics, and I was moved by the Torch lighting ceremony – over 200 flames forming one great fire – a powerful symbol of unity between cultures, though truly more of an aspiration than a reality. If only they were completely united! Yet we know that the current state of affairs cannot be as good as it gets; there's a lot to be desired.

This is because as long as there is sin, there is disunity, since sin always says me over and against God and against others. Sin destroys relationships because it destroys our ability to love.

True unity is only fulfilled in the church, in God. Because God, who is a unity of persons, calls us to the same type of communion. This is what St. Paul describes in our second reading today from Ephesians: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one hope, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. God is the source of our unity. Saint Paul also describes, in the great image of the body with many parts, a difference among the members, as we hear from CCC 814:
From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life.

Thus the unity of God, who is a communion of persons, is seen also in the church in the unity of her different members as they become the one Body of Christ. And nothing shows this to us more clearly than the Eucharist, which we hear of in the Gospel. It is our Eucharistic Lord Jesus that draws us together as one.

This is described Didache, an ancient writing of the early church written about the same time as the last books of the New Testament. This text, which we will use in our hymn after communion (Father, We Thank Thee Who Hast Planted), prays that just as the grains of the field are united in the broken bread that is offered in the Mass, so also may the peoples of the world be gathered into one in the Church of Jesus Christ.

Miracle of the Mass – greater than miracle of bread. Listen to what happens in the words of consecration at Mass: for 2000 years, the same actions of Christ at the Last Supper were foreshadowed in this miracle of the multiplication of the loaves: he takes, blesses, breaks, and gives the bread. This is what the Eucharist symbolizes in the Cross, when Christ took, blessed, broke, and gave his body to us on Calvary! May the Eucharist, the great Sacrament of Unity, draw our hearts into one.

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