Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena

A Parish of the Archdiocese of New York served by the Dominican Friars

February 03, 2018

The Physician of the Soul – Pastor’s Reflection (February 4, 2018)

Today as you receive Holy Communion you will hear this text read, sung by the Cantor, or chanted by the Choir.

A multitude of the sick, and those who were troubled with unclean spirits came to Him:
for power went forth from Him and healed all.

Luke 6:17-19

In the completely ordinary, utterly amazing moment of Holy Communion that same power will go forth from Christ into you and me, and it will enter us for our healing.  It passes inside to touch each of us and grow each of us in just the way needed, at just the time needed.  Just think of all the men and women processing with you to receive the Lord.  Each of them walks to this moment of connection seeking that capacity to love in which true happiness exists.  Each person in the communion line, and the one at the altar, receives Jesus so as to challenge a fear, or an anxiety, or a hurt that keeps us locked in self-absorption.  Jesus finds us with our wagons circled around our wounds and nurtures in us the strength to be lovers.  Indeed, we are lovers with his love, which fosters the good of the neighbor because it first sees the good in the neighbor, because of the Good that is God.

This moment of the Mass provides a fresh takeaway every time in the pairing of the text and the action.  It offers yet another vantage point on the mystery of the Eucharist which draws us to itself in all the seasons of living.  The Communion Antiphon accompanies communion and comments on it.

A suggestion: as you walk to communion contemplate the line of people ahead of you.  Obviously you want to name your own needs for Holy Communion, but there will be a second to lift up the many invisible needs and longings all around you.

Think too of this paradox, as you find yourself in a line, you realize that you are one of the multitude.  You are one of the many people who need, and your hunger has placed you in this line on this Sunday.  Life on our streets teaches this same lesson to anyone with eyes away from the phone long enough to perceive it.  All around are needy people carrying bags, some visible.

But there is another truth of Holy Communion.  You will be fed alone, person to person, in your own encounter.  As surely as Jesus knelt and washed Peter’s feet so he comes into your soul and adapts to your way of thinking, and perceiving, and speaking.  Here is the guest who knows already the problems and patterns of his host, and knows as surely the way to their healing.  What a beautiful paradox: you are a face in a sea of humanity, and every hair of yours is counted.

Each time you make this familiar walk from pew to altar, the antiphon will offer a fresh insight.  By bringing text and action together in our minds we access the discipline of worship and life established by the Incarnate Lord who had a family, and a job; God will bring forth challenge and encouragement from the your life’s familiar people and times, places and things.  For Him the communion life is not complete without you.

Winter Peace
Fr.  Walter