To this Seeds of Hope, I have attached Mission Prayerline, a short mission story and prayer intention. Please page down to see it.
Scripture Reading for Today: Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 (read it here)
Today, on this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we are reminded that at the Eucharist Jesus says, “come and eat; all is ready,” and we come from the byways, dark alleys, and junkyards of life, not because we deserve it or we have earned it, but because it is freely given.
We come to this banquet of grace to celebrate God’s victory—not ours. We come to the Banquet of the Lord to rejoice at our sonship in God and brotherhood in Christ—and not to celebrate our achievements. We come at the Table of the Lord because of whose we are—and not because of how we are doing.
We come to this Sacred Meal because we are invited by God through Christ—and not because we are worthy of it. We come to the Eucharist to eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ because of his great love for us—not because we are good and clean. We come to Communion because of what God wants us to be—not because we are great and famous. We come to the Lord’s Supper because he still accepts us as companions at his meal, although we have ignored him, turned against him, used him, taken advantage of him, or become angry at him.
With reverence and veneration, we come to eat and drink Christ’s Body and Blood because we know that we are imperfect, make mistakes, stray from the right path, foul up relationships, offend others, and step on toes.
With humility and awe, we approach the altar of God because we are aware of our brokenness, weakness, unfaithfulness, and tendency to wander between being the Lord’s enemies and his friends.
With hope and joy, we receive the gifts of bread and wine to express our desire to surrender our life to God again and to start all over again.
With faith and trust we celebrate Christ’s goodness and love for forgiving, freeing, nourishing, renewing, refreshing, and strengthening us, and for being with us and not giving up on us.
As I sit quietly in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or as I prepare to celebrate Mass, often I think of one particular element of wedding receptions—that of a champagne fountain.
Now, the champagne fountains come in all sorts of different designs and configurations.
The most common type is the one in which champagne glasses are stacked in the shape of a pyramid or cone, layer by layer balanced on the one below. Normally the bottom tier could even have about fifty glasses, while sitting atop the stack was one simple glass.
Needless to say, it takes a steady hand to assemble the tower; and it takes only one person to bump against the table and create a disaster. And as you know, the fountain works like this: champagne is continuously poured into just the top glass, so that it overflows into each glass in the tier below and so on and so on and so on.
Eventually all the glasses are filled. Guests are generally astonished looking at the glistening effect of the cascading champagne, the incredible symmetry, the seemingly fragile nature of the whole display, and the inter-communication of the entire structure.
As I meditate on the great gift and mystery of the Eucharist, I am grateful that Christ continually pours himself out for our sake, gives us his very self, feeds us week after week after week at this sacred table, and fills the empty cup of our lives with the champagne of his love, strength, and vision.
But, in thinking of the champagne fountain, I realize that Christ fills us with his Body and Blood at this sacred table not only for our own consolation. Rather, he pours his very life into us precisely so that we will in turn pour his love, mercy, generosity, and presence into the lives of others.
Christ is that never-ending fountain of grace, an endless stream of joy, and the continuous source of everything we need for our journey of faith. And yet, others need that same love, that same kindness, that same compassion, and that same comfort and inspiration.
It is in the Eucharist that Christ invites us, challenges us, and begs us to help him continue his work of salvation, consolation, and sanctification with him. And that means that there are many empty glasses at our side that will only be filled if we allow ourselves to overflow with the love, the grace, the peace, the encouragement, and the holiness that Christ continually provides for us in this holy Sacrament.
Let us approach the table of the Eucharist with joyful hearts, truly thankful for the precious gift of Christ’s Body and Blood.
Let us be willing to let Christ transform us and bring us more closely together in love.
In company with Mary, let us come and eat: the Supper of the Lord is being served; let us come and drink: the Lord’s champagne fountain is flowing; let us come, eat, and drink. There are many people whose lives need to be nourished.
Colombian Churches Help Venezuelan Soldiers Who Have Walked Away
Pvt. Andry Rosales hugged a Colombian soldier and broke into tears as he surrendered himself to the country’s military.
The 21-year-old Venezuelan soldier had sneaked out of his army base across the border early in the morning and crossed into Colombia by walking on a dirt trail used each day by hundreds of migrants who enter Colombia illegally. He carried only a small backpack and wore civilian clothes, which helped him avoid Venezuelan border guards.
But most of these soldiers arrive wearing their uniform and with nothing else.
The defections of Venezuelan soldiers started to increase Feb. 23, 2020 when Venezuela’s opposition tried to deliver several trucks of food and medicine into the country across three border bridges in Cucuta and via a remote road that connects Venezuela with Brazil.
The aid was provided mostly by the U.S. government, and it was vehemently rejected by embattled President Nicolas Maduro, who said it was part of a plot to replace him with opposition leaders, who promised to hold new elections.
Maduro ordered his troops to disperse civilians who attempted to escort the aid into Venezuela, and clashes quickly erupted along Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil. At least seven people died.
Amid the mayhem, Venezuelan soldiers started to flee into Colombia, saying they were sick of following Maduro’s orders.
The defectors are mostly low-ranking soldiers who say they are tired of repressing protests within Venezuela and also feel demoralized by salaries of about $20 a month. Many say those salaries have left them hungry and impoverished.
According to Colombia’s immigration authorities, more than 500 Venezuelan soldiers and police officers have fled into the country since Feb. 23, 2020. Most are now staying in shelters and hotels guarded by Colombian troops.
The Diocese of Cucuta and other religious groups in the area are responding to this new chapter of Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis by providing accommodation for these deserters and their families in hotel rooms. They also provide them clothing, food, legal advice, and support from psychologists, who are helping them to deal with problems like depression and anxiety.
Venezuelan government officials have described the defectors as traitors and have threatened to arrest them if they return to the country.
But the Church will continue to work with the soldiers, even if it compromises her relations with the Venezuelan government.
Almighty God and Father, long have we known that your heart is with the refugee, that you were born into time in a family of refugees fleeing violence in their homeland, who then gathered up their hungry child and fled into alien country.
Their cry, your cry, resounds through the ages: “Will you let me in?”
Give us hearts that break open when our brothers and sisters turn to us with that same cry. Then surely all these things will follow: ears will no longer turn deaf to their voices; eyes will see a moment for grace instead of a threat; tongues will not be silenced but will instead advocate; and hands will reach out—working for peace in their homeland, working for justice in the lands where they seek safe haven.
Lord, protect all refugees in their travels. May they find a friend in us, and so make us worthy of the refuge we have found in you.
Join Me for Live Bible Study Meetings via Zoom
Please follow this link for details.
Que la palabra de Cristo habite y se sienta a gusto en ustedes (Col. 3:16)
Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
If you found this helpful, please share it. We love meeting new friends.