Proving that love is possible

Why come to Mass? Because the Eucharist ‘is Jesus, and Jesus is life,’ archbishop says 

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron leads a Eucharistic procession around the neighborhood of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on May 29 during the Feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrates the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Photos by Jonathan Francis | Archdiocese of Detroit

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron leads a Eucharistic procession around the neighborhood of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on May 29 during the Feast of Corpus Christi, which celebrates the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Photos by Jonathan Francis | Archdiocese of Detroit

Detroit — At the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit and in parishes across the archdiocese, Christ’s Body and Blood were carried in solemn procession on streets and in neighborhoods  as a reminder that “for us Catholics, the Gospel is very much about the Eucharist,” as Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron put it.

On May 29, Archbishop Vigneron welcomed hundreds to the “patron feast of our cathedral,” especially those who had recently entered the Church as new Catholics — or “neophytes” — at Easter.

Preceding the annual Eucharistic procession in the north Woodward Avenue neighborhood of Detroit to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, Archbishop Vigneron told Massgoers during his homily that the Eucharist celebrates “not a memory from long ago, but (one) present and real in our midst.”

In the Feast of Corpus Christi, Christ shows he is present to the world through the "ordinary 'stuff' of creation," Archbishop Vigneron said, signifying that he will redeem every part of creation.

In the Feast of Corpus Christi, Christ shows he is present to the world through the “ordinary ‘stuff’ of creation,” Archbishop Vigneron said, signifying that he will redeem every part of creation.

“In all the seven sacraments that Jesus has established for us, what a sacrament does is rooted in what the sign is,” the archbishop said. “A simple example is baptism. Baptism is a new birth and a cleansing of all of our sins as Ezekiel foretold. To use our own way of communicating, Jesus established water as the matter of the sacrament so that God does what He shows us.”

In a similar way, the Eucharist as a sign of bread and wine “is the way for Christ to indicate, to symbolize, that this sacrament is food for our journey,” Archbishop Vigneron said.

This food is important to the Christian life in the same way as normal food and drink — even more so, he said — because the Eucharist nourishes and fuels the Christian to complete the work of the Christian life.

“We have a great task to perform: to live the life of Jesus Christ in our world, and so we need this nourishment,” the archbishop said. “Our great task is to take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ, in every moment of our life — in the times that are good and the times that are difficult — to abandon ourselves into the Father’s hands.”

Because of this, it is every Catholic’s responsibility to tell the world what the Eucharist means to them, he said.

“The Eucharist is a challenge to us to turn our homes into temples, to turn our workplaces into temples, even to turn the expressways into temples,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “God is all in all because if God can be under the appearances of bread and wine, where can He not be? Where ought He not be?”

Such is also the meaning of the archdiocese’s “Unleash the Gospel” campaign, he noted, which challenges every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Detroit to share with their friends and neighbors how Jesus Christ has changed them.

“Why do we get our lazy bones out of bed on Sunday morning and come to Mass?” the archbishop said. “Not because it’s entertaining or gives us a thrill, but because it’s Jesus and Jesus is life. Not to come here and not to receive the Eucharist is a kind of spirituality bulimia, malnourishment, starvation.

“When we tell people about the Eucharist, what we need to tell them is that it proves to us that love is possible,” he said.