Praying the Rosary in the Year of Faith: The Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light
himself pure, as he is pure." (1 John 3)
The Lord Jesus has shown us the way up the mountain. He has invited us into a new way of living in Him through living within the communion of the Church. Living in that Church we are invited to go into the world and invite all men and women, through the waters of the womb of Baptism, into the new communion of love where they can begin the process of conversion and transfiguration. Born again, we are all invited to join with Peter, James and John and cry out in our day: "It is good for us to be here."
As we reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus, let us enter more deeply into the mystery it reveals by living in the Transfiguration now. It truly is good for us to be here. Let us draw encouragement from the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ and respond to the invitations of grace in our daily lives in order to grow more fully into the Image and likeness of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord revealing His Transfigured glory to a world waiting to be born anew. We are being called into an ongoing transformation in Jesus Christ, beginning right now.
Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist
"During the meal Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. "Take this and eat it," he said. "This is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them. "All of you must drink from it," he said, "for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink this fruit of the vine from now until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father's reign." Then, after singing songs of praise, they walked out to the Mount of Olives. A final mystery of light is the institution of the Eucharist, in which Christ offers his body and blood as food under the signs of bread and wine, and testifies 'to the end' his love for humanity (Jn 13:1), for whose salvation he will offer himself in sacrifice." (Blessed John Paul II, RVM, 21)
"Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not. and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God." (Exodus 16)
Jesus connects this Old Testament account in the Gospel lesson from St. John. Here is a portion: "Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. I myself am the living bread which has come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; and the bread which I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world."
(John 6: 31-35, 51)
God met His people Israel in the desert of their despair. Out of His love He fed their physical hunger. After hearing their cry, he miraculously intervened by providing "manna". Yet, sadly, these same people who had received this provision soon began to murmur and complain to Moses about God's provision.
At a place called Taberah, they cried out "But now we are famished; we see nothing before us but this manna." (Numbers, 11:6). Gods' miraculous provision had not changed, the people had. Their hearts had turned away from God and they fell out of communion. The blessing of heaven soon became their cause for complaint. That can happen to us when we fail to cultivate our relationship with the Lord who now gives us Bread from Heaven.
However, God continued to love the people of Israel. It was His design to manifest through them His saving plan for the whole world. God so loved the whole world that he gave His Only Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) God's love is a Love of Gift. He reached out to embrace a world lost in the desert of sin and separation by sending us One like us who could do for us what we could never do for ourselves. The Cross became the bridge which rejoined heaven and earth. In the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, creation began anew. The Word became flesh and through His saving Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, everything and everyone was changed.
The Bread Jesus gives is His flesh for the Life of the world. This is the Living Bread which satisfies every hunger. In His outstretched arms, the Savior gathered the world to Himself on the Second Tree of the Cross where creation began anew. On that Altar of Divine Love on Golgotha, the place of the skull, death was defeated through death. Jesus Christ was freely given for the Life of the whole world.
He birthed the New Israel of the Church from the blood and water which flowed from His wounded side. The Second Adam was pierced and His bride the Church was drawn from His wounded heart. The God who had fed His chosen people Israel manna, satisfying their physical hunger, now offered Jesus Christ, the Living Bread from heaven, to satisfy the deepest spiritual hunger of every man, woman and child.
In the Holy Eucharist we sacramentally receive the Lord Himself as eternal food for our journey through this life and into the life of the world to come. This same Jesus offered on the Cross, Raised from the dead, Ascended to the Father. that very same Jesus comes to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity and takes up residence within us. We are invited to live our lives now in communion with the Father and in the Holy Spirit through Him. Through Baptism into Him we are joined with one another now in His Body, the Church. Living in that Church, which the Fathers called "the world reconciled" and the seed of the coming Kingdom, we are sent out for the sake of the world.
The Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote: "Material food first of all turns itself into the person who eats it, and as a consequence, restores his losses and increases his vital energies. Spiritual food, on the other hand, turns the person who eats it into Itself, and thus the proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, so that he may no longer live for himself, but that Christ may live in Him. And as a consequence it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual losses caused by sins and defects and of increasing the power of the virtues".
The great Bishop of Hippo, St. Augustine, recorded similar words which he heard in the Spirit from the Lord. We find them in the account of his conversion, the Confession: "I am the food of grown men. Grow, and you shall feed upon me. You will not change me into yourself, as you change food into your flesh, but you will be changed into me!"
Our participation in the Eucharistic Liturgy and reception of this Living bread and saving Cup is an invitation into the very inner life of God, the communion of love which is the Holy Trinity. It is also a continuing call to conversion and transformation as St. Paul reminds us in the second reading of our liturgy this morning. Here we receive the divine life, the grace we need to ".put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Eph 4:20,21).
When we feed on this heavenly food, the Lord Jesus comes to dwell within us and make us like Himself. We are invited to exercise our freedom, to choose to give thanks by living our lives differently, beginning right now. That is what the word Eucharist means, thanksgiving. Let us be a Eucharistic people, always giving thanks in the way we live. Let us be a people living in communion, through Him, with Him in the Unity and power of the Holy Spirit. We have received the fullness of the gift of God, the Bread of Life, the Holy Eucharist. Let us become what we consume.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Rosary, Holy Rosary, Mysteries, Blessed John Paul II, Mary, Marian, Hail Mary, Prayer, Holiness, Deacon Keith Fournier
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