At the Breaking of Bread At the Breaking of Bread
Homilies on the Eucharist

Patrick Jones, Editor
ISBN 1853909106 (9781853909108)
Veritas, 2005
£8.25

Category: Christian Life & Discipleship

No good Catholic should ever miss Mass. Nor, for that matter, should any Protestant or Orthodox believer: the Mass — Communion, Eucharist, Lord's Supper, whatever you prefer to call it — is crucial to the Christian faith. Quite literally, as it draws us back to the Cross, back to where our faith begins.

But it's all too easy to miss the point — to go to Mass, remember, and forget. To forget that at the very centre of the Christian faith is the greatest act of self-sacrifice ever made, to go back into the world, back into our self-centred society and live as though what we've just remembered never happened.

This book will help prevent that happening, providing not only food for thought but food for the soul along with a challenge to take the message of the Mass — of God's peace and reconciliation — out with us into the world: a challenge to move beyond celebrating the Eucharist to living it.

There are thirty-five homilies, or short sermons, collected together here from fourteen contributors, Roman Catholic priests from dioceses across Ireland and England. The collection was prompted by the "Year of the Eucharist" (which began in October 2004) and explores the key themes suggested by the late Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Mane nobiscum Domine (Remain with us, Lord): thanksgiving, sacrifice, meal, communion, solidarity and justice. The book itself, however, is divided into the following sections: The Lord's Day; Eucharist and the Human Condition; Thanksgiving; Real Presence; Word and Sacrifice; Bread of Life, Cup of Salvation; Service; Eucharist and Justice; and finally, Eucharist and Mission.

Each homily has a brief introduction setting it in the context of the relevant Scripture readings and within the framework of the liturgical calendar. Some are very short, just over a page, others stretch to several pages, none are likely to take longer than five minutes to read. This makes them ideal for daily reading in a "thought for the day" approach — but the depth of insight and level of challenge to live the Eucharist rather than just read or think about it will keep you going for much more than five minutes. You'll also want to have a Bible handy, and ideally a Missal, to familiarise yourself with both the Scripture readings and the liturgical texts that have inspired these homilies.

The publisher's 'blurb' on the back cover describes this book as "an invaluable source of reflection and inspiration for all engaged in pastoral ministry." It's far more than this, a book for every Christian — because every Christian needs to rise to the challenge the Eucharistic liturgy sets before us: to "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord."

Veritas



Phil Groom, October 2005

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.

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