Fr. Daniel Gifford
SOURCE, SUMMIT & CENTER
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
These past three weeks, we have been reflecting on the mystery of communion, the theological reality which has its source in the Communion of the Holy Trinity (last Sunday), in which we participate through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), and which finds its fullest sacramental manifestation in the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord (Corpus Christi, the celebration we enter into this weekend). The Eucharist is the Source, Summit, and Center of our communion. Rightly, then, we honor this Sunday as a time to renew our wonder at this greatest of gifts, that it may truly be the Source, Summit and Center of our lives. Near the middle of the Eastern Wall of the Church, we find the window (front cover) which portrays for us the Gospel roots of the Eucharist. Most readily, we can recognize it as depicting the Last Supper, especially as we can see not only the bread and the chalice in His hand, but also the remaining ten Apostles seated at table in the background, besides Peter and John at His side in the foreground. I would suggest, however, that this window may also be seen as a depiction of the Bread of Life discourse (John 6). One of the reasons for this thought has to do with its placement in relation to the walking on water, which I will discuss further when that window is featured. Meanwhile, it was at a previous Passover that Our Lord taught about the mystery of the Eucharist, still yet to come. In this sense, the host and chalice in His hand would not literally be there, but only symbolically, as He presents to them the mystery of this Gift, in which He will give them His flesh as “true food” and His blood as “true drink.” The fading into the background of the image of the Apostles reclined at table might even imply a foreshadowing of what is to come, rather than an image of what is taking place at that moment. The significance of Peter and John at His side is striking. If it seen as primarily an image of the Last Supper, then we might think of John laying his head on the breast of Christ and asking who it is who would betray Him, while Peter insists that he would never betray Our Lord, only be told of his three denials to come. If it is seen as primarily an image of the Bread of Life discourse, then we might think of Peter finally stepping forth, after many have left Him over the scandal of this teaching on the Eucharist, and professing “Lord, to whom shall we go. We have to come believe that you have the words of Everlasting Life,” while John sits in wonder, taking in the whole scene, as he will be the only of the Evangelists to recount it in his Gospel. Personally, I don’t think we need to pick just one of these interpretations. I think we can meditate upon this window as a reminder both of the moment when He taught us about the Eucharist (John 6) and the moment when He finally gave it to us (Last Supper). Then, we can allow Peter to remind us, that even after our weakness leads us to deny Him by our sin, still we must ask “To whom else shall we go?” He alone holds the everlasting life for which we long and His Merciful Heart still holds out this gift for us, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Meanwhile, John reminds us of the need to remain near His Merciful Heart and ponder within our own hearts (as John would have learned from Mary) the mysteries of Christ, that we may pass them on to the next generation.
TOTUS TUUS: Time flies! In just six weeks we will find ourselves welcoming a team of four young missionaries, trained to host a week of summer fun, faith, and growth for our children and teenagers (fun fact: it was as one of these Totus Tuus missionaries that our youth coordinator, Caylee, first came to Saint Louis Parish, a number of years ago). Naturally, the programs they offer are directed toward our younger parishioners, but Totus Tuus is really meant to be a time of renewal for the whole parish. You will probably hear me elaborating on this as the time draws nearer, but especially, I would encourage EVERYONE to mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 18th. Additionally, of course, we encourage all parents of children and teenagers in grades 1-12 to mark off the whole week of July 15-20, so that they can be a part of the festivities!
SUMMER OFFICE HOURS: Also, I just wanted to bring to your attention that, throughout the summer, different members of our staff will be away at different times both for professional development opportunities and some much needed vacation time. Thus, it is certainly possible that, at any point in the summer, you may call or stop in and encounter a parishioner serving as part-time office help, who may be more limited in which things they are able to help with, besides passing along a message. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!