I Have Earnestly Desired

Celebrate the Eucharist

(En Español)

Fr. Sam Nasada, OFM

A few weeks ago, Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter titled Desiderio Desideravi, the first words in Latin from Luke 22:15, when Jesus says to his disciples, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”

In this letter, the Pope reminds us: No one had earned a place at that Supper. All had been invited. Or better said: all had been drawn there by the burning desire that Jesus had to eat that Passover with them (paragraph 4). Every time we go to Mass, the first reason is that we are drawn there by his desire for us. For our part, the possible response — which is also the most demanding asceticism — is, as always, that surrender to this love, that letting ourselves be drawn by him. Indeed, every reception of communion of the Body and Blood of Christ was already desired by him in the Last Supper (6).

It is very timely that the Pope issued this letter as the Bishops in the United States lead us on a 3-year process of National Eucharistic Revival (https://www.eucharisticrevival.org). In its doctrinal source text for the revival, the bishops distinguish two themes: the Gift and our Response.

Can we understand this invitation to receive the Gift from Christ that is himself, in the Eucharist? Coming to Mass shouldn’t be just an obligation. It shouldn’t be something that we “make time for” in the midst of our busy schedules. It shouldn’t be a performance by the priest and the choir that we just sit back and enjoy. It is a direct invitation from Christ to participate in the banquet of his Body and Blood.

Today’s readings are all about hospitality: Abraham and Sarah providing hospitality to the three mysterious visitors, and Martha and Mary providing hospitality to Jesus. Yet when we come to mass, we are provided hospitality by the greatest Host of all: Jesus Christ, who earnestly desires to be with us.

Peace and all good, Fr. Sam Nasada, OFM
Associate Pastor, Mission San Luis Rey Parish

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