The Gospel of the Lord.

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1 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion: The Bread of Life and Eucharistic Ministry We will explore the spirituality of the Eucharist as it relates to Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. This will not be a how to workshop, but rather one that seeks to go deeper into the prayer life, spiritual activity and preparation for both the person themselves as well as assisting their ministry with others. I. Opening Prayer Luke 22: When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God. Then he took a cup, * gave thanks, and said, Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. The Gospel of the Lord. Ritual and prayer are not meant to be present in our lives as obligation, as diversion, as education or as entertainment. They are not there as a nearly magic way to salvation. Rather, they are there because we need them, because without thejm we could not be ourselves, could not be church. The liturgy is the various rituals of the assembled church. It is the deed of the assembled church. It is what we who are baptized need to do: the songs we need to sing, the words we need to hear, the gestures we need to make. Need because without them we cannot give our lives their gospel shape. In liturgy, we are what we mean to be. The immersion in baptism s waters is the death we die to evil all our lives, is new life we have in Christ. Bread broken and the cup poured out at the eucharist are the sacrifice and sharing we are to be for the world. The experience of our people has been that a life of faithfulness to the Lord, the constant loving of God and neighbor and self, calls out for ritual expression, is sustained by ritual. We are sustained if the ritual is our deed, if in its beauty and simplicity it can carry and form us. Quite simply, ritual and life are not strangers in our tradition. They create, nourish and sustain each other. (Liturgy with Style and Grace, Revised Edition. Gabe Huck. Liturgy Training Publications, Archdiocese of Chicago, IL. Pg. 2-3) 1

2 Let us Pray: O God, who have called us to participate in this most sacred Supper, in which our Only Begotten Son, when about to hand himself over to death, entrusted to the Church a sacrifice new for all eternity, the banquet of his love, grant, we pray, that we may draw from so great a mystery, the fullness of charity and of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Opening Prayer Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord s Supper) II. Four Presences of Christ in the Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium #7) A. Christ is present in the person of His minister B. Christ is present especially in the Eucharistic species. C. Christ is present in the proclamation of the word; he himself speaks. D. Christ is present when the Church prays and sings, in the gathered assembly. III. Christ is present especially in the Eucharistic species. A. The Lord s Supper becomes His presence among us and for us in the Church s celebration of the Eucharist. The Church fulfills the fundamental order of the Lord : Do this (what He Himself had done on the night He was betrayed) in remembrance of Me. The Church does what the Lord had done, with the words which He Himself spoke when He gave His body and His blood in the form of bread and wine to His disciples as a pledge of eternal life. The Church celebrates the Anamnesis, the remembrance of the meal that instituted the new covenant. The Church recalls what once happened but does not bring about a repetition of the actual event which happened once and for all on Calvary. Rather, what happened then enters into our place and our time, and acquires presence and redemptive power within our own being (The Eucharist The Mystery of Our Christ. Karl Rahner, S.J. Dimension Books, Denville, New Jersey, Pg ) 1. The Mass is the fulfillment of the Lord s command, Do this in remembrance of me. 2. During the sacrifice of the Mass, we are not re- doing the Lord s Supper. We are actually mystically entering into the experience of the Last Supper. a. We are gathered with Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper. 2

3 IV. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion A. General Instruction of the Roman Missal # 162 In the distribution of Communion the Priest may be assisted by other Priests who happen to be present. If such Priests are not present and there is a truly large number of communicants, the Priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, that is, duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been duly deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the Priest may depute suitable faithful for this single occasion. These ministers should not approach the altar before the Priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful. B. Inaestimabile donum (Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery - Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, April 3, 1980.) 1. # 10. The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte, when the priest is impeded by illness or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long.(20) Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave the task to the laity. C. Extra ordinary 1. In the dictionary means beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established. It also can mean exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc. 2. For our purposes, it is the first definition the laity, even if instituted as acolytes, are not the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. This is not to say that the ministry is unimportant. It is simply stating that ordinary or regular minister is either a priest or a deacon. 3. One would hope that you have responded to this ministry because of a particular relationship that you have with the Eucharistic Jesus. a. You have been called to ministry. The Lord never makes a general call. He calls by name. i. As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, Follow me. And he got up and followed him (Matthew 9:9). ii. On his journey [Saul], as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?... (Acts 9:3-4). 3

4 b. Do you understand that Jesus has called you specifically to this ministry? c. What does it mean for you? D. How is your relationship with Jesus? 1. How do you pray? 2. How often do you pray? 3. What do you do when you pray? 4. How much time do you spend with Jesus? 5. How much time do you spend listening to Jesus? a. Do you regularly spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament? 6. What are you doing about what Jesus reveals to you while you spend time with Him? 7. Do you spend extended time in prayer with the Lord, like on a weekend retreat, etc.? 8. How have you grown closer to Jesus since you began as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion? 9. How has this relationship changed you? a. We cannot be in relationship with Jesus and not be changed. E. Discipleship 1. How do people know you are a disciple? 2. Apart from ministering during Mass, how else are you a minister of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? You carry the living Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in your hands. It does not matter what other people do or do not think about what this is or is not. You know that you touch and have touched the Lord of the universe who has made the divine self known through ordinary bread and wine. How is this different from His very presence on earth God made man? You are a minister of the Lord. You are the hands of Jesus. a. Do you bring the Blessed Sacrament and minister to the sick and homebound? b. Do you go to the hospitals and nursing homes? c. Do you bring the Body of Christ to those who are in prison? 3. And when you are there with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, are you also aware that you have been changed by the reception of this same Eucharist? You are Jesus to this person. How are you acting? a. Do you pray with them? b. Do you listen to them? c. Do you care for them? 4. What about when you are going about in your everyday lives? a. Are you aware that you are still an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion while you are driving; in line at the grocery story; at a restaurant; in your homes, at your jobs; etc. F. Formation 1. What about on-going formation? a. Great that you are here this week!!! b. How are you growing in your understanding of sacred scripture? c. Are you growing in your understanding and reverence for Holy Mass? d. Are you reading Eucharistic literature? 4

5 e. Are you reflecting with the saints? V. Prayer Experience A. Ignatian Spirituality 1. In order to come to know the Lord more personally, thus to be able to hear His voice in your lives. 2. Spend time reading a particular scripture passage. 3. Close your eyes and re-live that particular passage. 4. As you come out of the experience, slowly begin to review what happened. a. Who were you in the scene? b. What was your relationship with Jesus? c. Does this experience give you new insight? 5. Luke 22: When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God. Then he took a cup, * gave thanks, and said, Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. 5

6 Appendix I Sacred Scripture Matthew 11:25-30 Mark 14:12-16, Mark 15:16-20 Luke 9:11b-17 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:1-3, Luke 22:29-44 Luke 24:13-25 John 6:1-15 John 6:24-35 John 6:41-51 John 6:51-58 John 10:11-18 John 15:1-8 John 15:9-17 John 17:20-26 John 19:31-37 John 21:1-14 6

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