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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
by Fr. Cusick
(CCC refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Epistle: Romans 12. 16-21; Gospel: St. Matthew 8, 1-13 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Christ praised most effusively the faith of the centurion, remarking in astonishment: "Of a truth I tell you, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this." In the power of that faith the centurion uttered a prayer of humble abasement and utter confidence in the mercy and divine power of the Lord which has been echoed rightly by millions of souls through the ages as they gaze with fervent adoration upon the Eucharistic Lord in each Sacrifice of the Mass. 

The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (Jn 6: 53) (CCC 1384) 

To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." (1 Cor 11: 27-29) Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion. (CCC 1385) 

Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur et anima mea" ("Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.") (Roman Missal, response to the invitation to Communion, Ecce Agnus Dei; cf. Mt 8:8.) And in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit: 

O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas' kiss. But like the good thief I cry, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."(CCC 1386) 

To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. (Cf. CIC, can. 919.) Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest. (CCC 1387) 

Let us ever approach the Lord with the adoration and humility of the centurion as we meet and receive him in the Eucharist, that we may ever share in the Lord's praise of his ardent faith. 
Let's pray for each other until, next week, we again"meet Christ in the liturgy", 

- Father Cusick 

(See also nos. 448, 543, 586, 1386, and 2610 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) 

Used with the permission of Fr. Cusick from his website