Young adults who gathered for Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville Aug. 1 heard from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz that the Eucharist is a mystery to be believed, celebrated and lived.
Archbishop Kurtz thanked the young people for their attendance at the Mass, sponsored by Louisville Young Catholics, telling them he felt “younger” in their presence.
“You come with joy and reverence and the Lord is very pleased. …Thank you for your desire to let the Lord touch your heart,” he said.
In his homily, Archbishop Kurtz called the congregation’s attention to the first reading from the book of Exodus, in which God leads the people of Israel from slavery to freedom.
“God provided for his people by giving them food from the heavens. Just enough food for them to gather for each day. So they knew that every day they’d need to depend on God, every day they’d need to pray and come close to God,” said the archbishop. “But never did they ever dream that our savior Jesus Christ would use that gift of mana as a foreshadowing of the great gift that we in the church are being called to renew and revive in the hearts of all of the faithful.”
Archbishop Kurtz shared with the small gathering of 30 or so young adults that the U.S. bishops are sponsoring a program called “Eucharistic Revival” and drafting a document that “teaches once again the great gift and the great mystery of the Eucharist.”
For the young people in the congregation who are reflecting on vocation and uncovering God’s plan for their lives, the archbishop noted, “central to that plan is the gift of the Eucharist.”
“For in baptism we become a eucharistic people. It is at the holy Eucharist that you and I are most clearly the people that Christ calls as his own … the body of Christ,” he said.
The holy Eucharist is a mystery to be believed, celebrated and lived, he continued.
“The holy Eucharist is a mystery to be believed — simple bread and wine, common bread and wine Jesus uses at the Last Supper to be the vehicle for his own precious body and blood for our salvation. Words that will be repeated at this Mass to make present again the saving passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation,” said Archbishop Kurtz.
“We truly believe that bread and wine is no longer bread and wine, but the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and we believe that it’s the body and blood of Jesus Christ, not for us to look at from a distance, but to receive so that we are no longer spectators,” he said. “We are changed people. We leave church differently than we came and so it’s a mystery to be celebrated like we are today.
“And finally, it’s a mystery to be lived.” he said.
There’s been a question lately as to who is worthy to receive the Eucharist, the archbishop noted. The answer, he said, is that no one is “fully worthy.”
“The gift is given to us despite our unworthiness, but do we seek to prepare ourselves in such a way that we will never be accused of taking the gift of the Eucharist for granted?” asked the archbishop.
If a loved one gives a gift and it’s placed in a closet and never used, not only does this show a lack of gratitude, but “that gift never benefits you, never changes your life.”
“The gift to be lived is the gift of the holy Eucharist that St. Paul tells us in Ephesians is a gift that is meant to transform our lives. …When you say, ‘Amen,’ later in Mass, pray that your heart and soul and every part of your being will be transformed into the very image of Jesus Christ,” said Archbishop Kurtz.