Sunday Reflection – 29 December – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Fifth Day of the Christmas Octave (excerpts from various homilies of St John Chrysostom).
“What excuse shall we have, or how shall we obtain pardon, if we consider it too much to go to Jesus in the Eucharist, who descended from Heaven for our sake?
This Fountain [of the Holy Eucharist] is a fountain of light, shedding abundant rays of truth. And beside it, the angelic powers from on high have taken their stand, gazing on the beauty of its streams, since they perceive more clearly than we, the power of what lies before us and its unapproachable dazzling rays.
The wise men adored this body when it lay in the manger…they prostrated themselves before it in fear and trembling….Now you behold the same body that the wise men adored in the manger, lying upon the altar…you also know its power.
How many of you say – I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him but also to be your food and nourishment. You can call happy those who saw Him. But, come to the altar and you will see Him, you will touch Him, you will give to Him holy kisses, you will wash Him with your tears, you will carry Him within you
like Mary Most Holy.
When you see (the Most Blessed Sacrament) exposed, say to yourself: ‘Thanks to this Body, I am no longer dust and ashes, I am no more a captive but a freeman, hence, I hope to obtain heaven and the good things that are there in store for me… eternal life, the heritage of the angels, companionship with Christ; death has not destroyed this Body which was pierced by nails and scourged, . . . this is that Body which was once covered with blood, pierced by a lance, from which issued saving fountains upon the world, one of blood and the other of water. . . This Body He gave to us to keep and eat, as a mark of His intense love’.”
Prayer Before Holy Communion
By St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
O Lord, my God,
I am not worthy,
that You should come into my soul
but I am glad that You will come to me,
because in Your loving kindness,
You desire to dwell in me.
You ask me to open the door of my soul,
which You alone have created,
so that You may enter into it,
with Your loving kindness
and dispel the darkness of my mind.
I believe that You will do this
for You did not turn away Mary Magdalene
when she approached You in tears.
Neither did You withhold forgiveness
from the tax collector,
who repented of his sins,
or from the good thief,
who asked to be received into Your kingdom.
Indeed, You numbered as Your friends
all who came to You with repentant hearts.
O God, You alone are blessed always,
now and forever.
St John Chrysostom (347 to 407)
Father and Doctor of the Church
Bishop of Constantinople