For the past several weeks Jesus has been preparing the people of His time and ours that He is the Bread that came down from heaven. In the Gospel we hear the excuses: “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Whether we came into our faith and were baptized as an infant or came in later as a convert, we have to look at how we come up to receive Jesus, the Bread from Heaven. What is our focus when we come up to receive Him? Are our hands folded as if we are praying? Are our eyes focused straight ahead?
Or have we become “sloppy?” Are we looking to see who is in the pew so that we can say a quick hello? Worse yet, after we have received Jesus, are we still looking on the way back to see who else is there we can greet? It’s ok if you want you to participate in the singing of the hymn coming up to receive Jesus, but afterwards your focus has to be on the Jesus that you are carrying inside of you. In the “old days’ after Communion was a time that was set aside as a personal time to be with Jesus, to talk to Him intimately. Let us bring that time back!
Many visitors ask me why do we as a parish stand during Communion time while other churches kneel. The reason is simple; when Bishop Trautman was bishop he instituted this practice for our diocese. It was not a novelty. In the early Church the people also stood during the time of Communion and would receive the host in the hand. This is because we are an “Easter Church” – We celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. During Lent we kneel because it is a time of penitence and kneeling is a form of penitence. So if you want to kneel it is okay. I realize that many of our parishioners are becoming older or have health issues and may not be able to stand for long periods.
Remember to mark your calendars for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin on Wednesday, August 15th. Please read the bulletin carefully for the times of the Masses. On Tuesday, August 14th at 5:30 p.m. at Saint Francis there will be an anticipated Mass of the Assumption. But more especially, Brother Michael is celebrating his 50th Anniversary as a religious brother. I am grateful for all that he does for Saint Francis and Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Following the evening Mass there will be an ice-cream social at Msgr. Ritchie Hall to honor Brother Michael. Hope to see you there.
On another note, my family had a wonderful time last weekend celebrating my 75th birthday here in Bradford. They and I thank you for your many kindnesses. Also to let you know, I do now have a date for my knee surgery. It will be on Monday, September 17th here in Bradford.
Just a reminder that I will be on my priest retreat from Monday afternoon until Friday this week.
God bless, Fr. Ray