Vinny Flynn provides a treasure chest you can draw from, again and again, for gems of insight on the Eucharist.
Photo: Dieric Bouts (1415–1475)
Jesus 'Withholds Nothing ... From Us'
The Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist
by Fr. Larry Dunn, MIC (September 8, 2014)
Tenth of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Agony in the Garden.
The Fifth Luminous Mystery invites us to contemplate Jesus' institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. In the Gospels, we are told that Jesus "took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to His disciples said, 'Take and eat; this is My Body.' Then He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you, for this is My Blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins'" (Mt 26:26-28; see Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22:17-20).
If we love someone, we want to share ourselves with the person. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ gives Himself to us entirely — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He withholds nothing from us, showing His absolute love for us. Isn't that fantastic!
Since we are receiving Jesus Himself in this divine Sacrament, all of the other Sacraments — indeed, everything that the Church has to offer — is centered around the Eucharist, which is "the source and summit of the Christian life" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324).
When we receive Jesus with a properly disposed soul, we are participating in the heavenly banquet. The Catechism tells us, "Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all" (CCC, 1326).
We cannot see this reality without supernatural help because our souls are not prepared to see God in all of His glory and majesty. Every time Jesus is present on the altar, He is accompanied by the hosts of heaven. Yes, the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of the Eucharist; the greatest saints; and myriads of angels are there in the smallest chapels and the largest basilicas.
The Holy Eucharist is the greatest sign of God's mercy for us. Remember the story of the Prodigal Son? (see Lk 15:11-32). After squandering his inheritance, abandoning his family, leaving his native country, and rejecting his religion, the prodigal son was returning to his father. His father was waiting and ran to meet him. The father put a ring on his son's finger and wrapped him in a fine robe. In the Holy Eucharist, the Lord Himself comes toward us to wrap us, not in a robe, but in His mercy.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II instituted the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary (focusing on the public ministry of Jesus' because he wanted us to meditate upon Jesus' life and fall more deeply in love with Him. As you meditate on this mystery, imagine yourself as one of the apostles at the Last Supper. Ask yourself, "What would have been my reaction?" You may very well have a personal encounter with Jesus in your heart.
Yes, He is hidden, but it is truly Jesus and He lets us consume Him, even though our souls are far from perfection. This is how much He loves us and wants us to be united to Him. When we approach the Eucharistic Lord, let us pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, and enkindle in my heart the fire of love for You."
Father Larry Dunn, MIC, lives at the Marians' house of formation in Washington, D.C. He has been a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers for more than 40 years.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation