My pastor, Fr. Bob, gave an excellent pastoral homily today on several of the Church's (perhaps not-too-well-known) teachings concerning the Holy Eucharist. He started his homily by mentioning an encounter he had had a few weeks ago: an Episcopalian came up to him after Mass and said how happy he was to have been able to receive Communion in a Catholic church. My pastor was not going to press the issue, but the man kept speaking about other "changes" he was happy the Catholic Church had made, so my pastor felt he had to correct the man.
My pastor's homily was about the Church's teaching on who can receive Communion and what the proper preparation for receiving the Blessed Sacrament is. He mentioned fasting, prayer, reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation if necessary, and even the reading of Scripture (if not at least paying attention to what is proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Word).* He also reminded us of Who the Eucharist is, how it is the center of our lives, the greatest gift we have received and the greatest gift we can offer back to the Father.
Please join me in offering a prayer of thanksgiving to God for my pastor, especially for the wonderful homily he gave his people this morning. (I hope he gives the homily at every Mass this weekend — a visiting priest usually says one of the four Masses each weekend.)
On a related note, the Prayer of the Faithful today was also wonderful. The intentions included prayers for the reverent celebration of the liturgy, for the lives of believers in Christ to be a witness to the world, for proper reverence and respect to be shown to the Most Holy Eucharist, for an increase of God's grace to those who live in places where the Mass cannot be celebrated often, and for the Lord to call to the priesthood more men by whose hands the Eucharist will come to us.
(And I got a compliment from a parishioner after Mass for my service: I was the reader today, and I did my best — the Spirit did the rest! — to proclaim the Scriptures clearly so that the congregation would understand their relation to this great feast day of the Church.)
Other homilies for Corpus Christi:
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, O.P.
Fr. Martin Fox
Fr. Daren J. Zehnle
Excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI
* Fasting, prayer, penance, and Scripture are the four "preparations" I mention in my book, Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People. I'd say I got it right, then! :)