Sunday, August 1, 2010


“St. Peter Julian Eymard –
Champion of the Blessed Sacrament”
Artist and Date are UNKNOWN


Biographical Information about St. Peter Julian Eymard [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Peter Julian Eymard

Readings and Commentary:

Acts 4:32-35

The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common.
With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.
There was no needy person among them,
for those who owned property or houses would sell them,
bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the Apostles,
and they were distributed to each according to need.

Commentary on
Acts 4:32-35

This selection from Acts is the second summary describing the community of faith at Jerusalem. The description is of a community completely unified in the faith of the risen Lord living, in accordance with the practices followed by the disciples when they were with Jesus, sharing all material possessions.

CCC: Acts 4:32 952, 2790; Acts 4:33 995
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R. (9) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Commentary on
Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving and a favorite for celebrating the heroic virtue of the saints. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone. This psalm, in the words of one being unjustly persecuted, echoes hope for deliverance and freedom. The promise of salvation for those who follow the Lord gives hope to the poor and downtrodden.

CCC: Ps 34:3 716; Ps 34:8 336
John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."
Commentary on
Jn 15:1-8

This selection begins the discourse on the vine and the branches – really a monologue on the union with Jesus. It is still part of Jesus’ farewell speech. The familiar image of the vineyard and the vines is used which has imagery in common with Isaiah 5:1-7; Matthew 21:33-46 and as a vine at Psalm 80:9-17; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:2; 17:5-10; 19:10; Hosea 10:1. The identification of the vine as the Son of Man in Psalm 80:15 and Wisdom's description of herself as a vine in Sirach 24:17. This monologue becomes a unifying tie that pulls everything together.

CCC: Jn 15:1-17 1108; Jn 15:1-5 755; Jn 15:1-4 1988; Jn 15:3 517; Jn 15:4-5  787; Jn 15:5 308, 737, 859, 864, 1694, 2074, 2732; Jn 15:7 2615; Jn 15:8 737

We find it ironic that for the memorial of St Peter Julian Eymard (1811 - 1868) the Gospel selected is the beginning of the great discourse from St. John’s Gospel on the vine and branches. Perhaps this choice was made because St. Peter founded a religious community dedicated to the adoration of the Eucharist. That community (Servants of the Blessed Sacrament), whose members to this day enrich the grace of the Church through perpetual adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, demonstrate clearly the linkage we all share to the vine who is Christ and its branches; those joined in the Body of Christ.

We must believe that his favorite scripture must have been the Bread of Life discourse from the same Gospel (John 6:48-68) which most clearly states St. Peter’s fervent belief in the Real Presence (also the title of the book of his collected works). But in the end, what is the Church but a collection of individuals joined metaphysically to Christ in the Eucharist?

As we celebrate the memorial of this great saint, we are encouraged to spend time adoring that wonderful gift our Lord and Savior left us at the Last Supper. He shared with us the glorified presence of Eternal Life indwelling. He adopted us and made us part of his family and heirs to his Kingdom. What better way to appreciate that presence than to adore that which we most wish to consume. What better way to avoid becoming complacent with our blessings than to observe from afar that which most perfectly conforms us to our Lord.

On this day, let us pledge to spend some time reflecting upon the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar – the Eucharist thereby achieving the same grace overflowing from Jesus, whose immediate presence infuses us with holiness.


[1] The picture is “St. Peter Julian Eymard –Champion of the Blessed Sacrament”, Artist and Date are UNKNOWN
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.

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