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Bishop Timothy Senior: Allowing the Reality of the Real Presence of Jesus to Stir Us To Holiness

HANOVER, PA, June 4 — At a Solemn Vespers Service during the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage's visit to the Diocese of Harrisburg and within the third day of the Diocese's Eight Days of Eucharistic Joy initiative, Harrisburg Bishop Timothy Senior preached a homily to a full St. Joseph's Church in Hanover on the consequences of our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

After welcoming the Seton Route's pilgrims as an "inspiration and grace" and thanking all those who have worked so hard to make the National Eucharistic PIlgrimage, the Eight Days of Eucharistic Joy and those who were in attendance, Bishop Senior focused on what he said was the main point of the Eucharistic Revival, of which the PIlgrimage is a part: "renewed faith in Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist and its meaning and fruitfulness in each of our lives as His disciples."

He pondered how the Eucharist is indeed a miracle by which Jesus' passion and death are made present to us and said that reality "invites us to a renewed sense of reverence" that reflect "what we believe about the Eucharist and the one in whom we believe so profoundly and mysteriously present with us."

He expressed hope that the Revival would "rekindle Eucharistic piety and devotion, as an outward expression of our interior disposition and love for Jesus, present in the Eucharist" and would lead us to prioritize "setting a good example [of reverence] especially for our children and young people, and for those who do not believe or do not understand."


He stated that the Eucharist is "a powerful expression of the vulnerability and accessibility of God," in which he pours out his love, risking rejection yet remaining present, beecarue of rhis passionate lover and "reckless, irrational desire to be close to us and for us to find our way to Him forever. He said that Jesus showed us this love on Calvary, echoing St. Paul's words to the Romans, “Even when we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”


Commenting on the passage from the First Letter of St. John that was read during Vespers, that "we are God’s children now" and that "what we shall later be has not yet come to light, but we know that when it comes to light, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is," he said that the Eucharist helps us to enter into the divine image now and prepare us for heaven later.

He quoted Blessed Carlo Acutis, who famously taught, “The Eucharist is the highway to heaven," and said that at Mass, "heaven meets earth" and "you are never closer to Jesus in this life than when you receive Him in the Eucharist."

Bishop Senior also said that the "Eucharist Forms us into the Body of Christ" and "we become what we consume." Again referring to Blessed Carlo, who said, “By standing before the Eucharistic Christ we become holy" and, “The more Eucharist we receive the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we have a foretaste of heaven,” the Harrisburg prelate emphasized, "The Eucharist, like all the Sacraments, is transformative. Through the grace of receiving Jesus, we are gradually configured more fully to Christ."

He said that as we adore the Eucharist, as everyone present had the privilege to do during Vespers, with the Eucharistic Jesus exposed on the altar, "we must not lose sight of the challenge of the Eucharist" to become holy.

He said that people are supposed to be able to see in us the great dignity Christians have of being truly children of God and how the "fruitfulness of the Eucharist needs to be evident in our lives, in our actions, our engagement with others, our priorities and choices, our concern for the poor and most vulnerable, our desire to be an instrument of peace and communion in a world so torn by hatred, polarization and division."

He concluded that "as we continue to adore Jesus truly present in the miracle of the Blessed Sacrament, let's open our hearts to contemplate the love that we receive from our God who allows Himself to be so vulnerable, risking our rejection."

Since in the Eucharist, we "get a glimpse of the Kingdom," he prayed that we would "allow the reality of His presence to stir within us the desire to become Holy, to become like Jesus so that the earth will have a foretaste of heaven – through us."

At the conclusion of Vespers, Bishop Senior imparted Eucharistic Benediction.

The events associated with the Eight Days of Eucharistic Joy in the Diocese of Harrisburg are below.


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