At the beginning of a new year, we all look for ways to “revive” our lives: cleaning and organizing our homes; deciding on a new exercise regimen or renewing our commitment to our current one; or maybe even embarking on “Bible in a Year” or “Catechism in a Year” with Fr. Mike Schmitz! 😉 We look, we ponder, and we make decisions about how to better ourselves and our surroundings.
And speaking of revival, we’ve been in the midst of Eucharistic Revival for the past two years now, and the focus currently has been at the parish level (June 11, 2023-July 17, 2024). We’re blessed in our diocese as Bishop Boyea challenges us weekly with his educational and inspiring “On the Road to Emmaus” series. As the National Eucharistic Revival website (eucharisticrevival.org) explains:
“Jesus is Calling Us Deeper…HE PROMISES TO RESTORE AND RENEW HIS PEOPLE! Our world is hurting. We all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith in the celebration of the Eucharist. The National Eucharistic Revival is a movement to restore understanding and devotion to this great mystery here in the United States by helping us renew our worship of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”
And it continues, “The Revival is now reaching the pews! This year is about fostering Eucharistic devotion at the parish level, strengthening our liturgical life through the faithful celebration of the Mass, Eucharistic adoration, missions, resources, preaching, and organic movements of the Holy Spirit…”
About two dozen of our parishioners and staff attended November’s diocesan workshop, “If You Knew the Gift of God,” learning more about increasing reverence for our Eucharistic Lord during the Liturgy, and some of these ideas have been implemented or will be. About a dozen others from our parish are already making plans to attend the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis in July this year. (It’s not too late to do so! If you’re interested, please join us! See the website referenced above or call the office for more information!)
We hear in today’s Gospel from our parish patron himself, St. John. He says the very words that are now part of every Liturgy of the Eucharist, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” In other words, “Look, here is Christ, the Messiah, our Savior! It is truly him!” And in the first reading we hear of Samuel’s response as he perceives the Lord’s summons:, “Speak for your servant is listening.”
I think this is what the Eucharistic Revival, on a basic level, is all about! We are invited to hear anew the Lord’s invitation, acknowledging and beholding his presence for us in the very Eucharist AND responding anew, “I’m here, too! I’m with you! I hear you! I accept your invitation into relationship. I believe. I welcome you into my life, Lord! I want to partner myself with you, Jesus, yoking myself to you and your plan for my life. I want to share you with others. Speak for your servant is listening.”
Dr. Mary Healy shared this in a recent Eucharistic Revival webinar: “Revival is a divine visitation, a sovereign work of God, in answer to sincere, prevailing prayer. During revival God will:
- Grip his people with deep conviction, repentance, forgiveness, and deliverance from sins.
- Fill his people with the Holy Spirit and manifest through them the fruit and graces of the Holy Spirit.
- Fill the Church and community with his presence and power.
- Cause non-Christians to earnestly seek him.
- Ignite in his people, young and old, a passion to bring the lost to Christ at home and around the world.
Wow!!! Aren’t these the very things we desire…for ourselves to draw nearer to God and help others to do the same? Don’t our hearts yearn for all of these works of God? Dr. Healy invited each of us to imagine that Eucharistic Revival within our parishes…for us that would mean this divine visitation and work of God happening within our very own St. John Parish. Of course, the next thought is “But how?” And Dr. Healy gave an answer: “If I were radically revived in my love for the Eucharist, it would change the parish!”
Which begs the same question, “How’s that? or “Come again?” Just if I radically revive my love for the Eucharist? That’s going to make an impact? Again, this Sunday’s Gospel confirms it, “He (Andrew) first found his own brother Simon and told him, ‘We have found the Messiah…Then he brought him to Jesus.” For once we truly, deeply, and intimately know who we behold in the Eucharist, we can’t help but bring others to him!
Revive and strengthen our belief, Lord, our desire to receive you in the Eucharist, weekly, even daily. But not just to receive, but to respond. Send us out on mission to share the gift of you, our Eucharistic Lord. Come, Holy Spirit and revive us this year! Help us to look, to ponder, to behold and say, “Here I am! Your servant is listening.” Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Eucharist, pray for us!