Thursday, September 20, 2012

Eucharistic Reflection

On this Thursday (traditionally associated with the gift of the Holy Eucharist), the first reading and Gospel come together in a powerful way. Even though neither Scripture passage explicitly mentions the Eucharist, the foundation is there in one word: Faith.

Paul reminds the Corinthians of the origins of their faith: the Gospel he preached. And he recites what may have been a very early creed, summing up the heart of the message that he preached, and that they believed. To the extent that they "hold fast to the word preached" to them, the Corinthians "are being saved."

In the Gospel, Jesus also speaks of faith and salvation: He tells the "sinful woman" at his feet, "Your faith has saved you."

"Faith," Paul wrote to the Romans, "comes from hearing." The Corinthians heard Paul's testimony and believed, and found salvation: their vision was transformed as they began to see life and its events in the perspective of God's overarching love and providence centered in Jesus. The woman went to the Pharisee's house because she had "learned" that Jesus was at table there, and Jesus assured her, "your faith has saved you." She was "safe": the world was revealed now as completely within God's providence and faithfulness.

It's no coincidence that when we celebrate the "Mystery of Faith," we do so in a context that is permeated with the Word of God. Not only do we listen to Scripture readings; our very prayers are woven from the Bible, and when we are dismissed, it is with the words of today's Gospel, first spoken to the "woman who was a sinner":

"Go in peace."

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