On a liturgical note: September 2018

By Canon Philip Gillespie

Through the month of August we have taken our Sunday Gospel readings from the sixth chapter of Saint John – the discourse of Jesus on the Bread of Life. To be nourished by the teaching of Jesus (His Word) and the food of Jesus (His Sacrament) is to be ever better prepared to live the life of Christ in our society today.

Just as we need food to give us the strength necessary to maintain our daily commitments and duties in favour of our families, friends and indeed our own well-being, so it is with the Blessed Eucharist; if we are nourished by Jesus, we draw life from Him and are therefore better able to bear good witness to him.

The 'food for the journey' which Jesus gives to his friends and disciples is rightly celebrated, consumed and worshipped by the Church in many ways; first in the Liturgical gathering which is the Mass and then also in the sharing of the gift of the Eucharist with the housebound, those in hospital, those in our prisons and those who for whatever reason are unable to join together with parish communities for the Sunday Mass.

This precious gift of Jesus, given with 'love beyond all telling', is also rightly adored and worshipped in the silence of our churches where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved and in the celebration of the Holy Hours – as we have done around our Archdiocese and across the country in preparation for Adoremus 2018 which is being held this month.

In the novel 'Brideshead Revisited', Evelyn Waugh draws his tale to an end by presenting us the scene of a small red sanctuary light burning before the tabernacle in the chapel at Brideshead; it has been witness to all the ups and downs of the family traumas and tragedies, and of the war which wages around it, yet it recalls an ancient faith and the constancy of Christ's presence. This very real presence is awaiting, calling and welcoming all who come to spend time in the midst of the business and complexity of our daily lives: 'O let us prize this Blessed food and trust our heavenly guide.'