The Eucharist Sends Us Out On Mission – Eucharist 2024


God loves us as His treasured possessions, and He calls us to participate in His mission to the world. He wants to use us to affirm good and abolish evil. We are to be living stones to build up the Kingdom of God.

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

“[Y]ou will be my treasured possession among all peoples.”

Ex. 19:5

1. Dr. Howell discuses the Hebrew word segullah, which means “treasured possession.” This word is used in Scripture to describe how God views His people. How does it make you feel to know that God loves you as His treasured possession?

2. By virtue of our baptism, each one of us can participate in the ministry of Christ. This means that we are to be God’s instruments in bringing others to Him. How can you work as God’s instrument to others in your life right now?

3. As God’s sons and daughters who share in the ministry of Christ, part of our mission is to affirm what is good in the world and work to abolish what is evil in our society. We can do these things through prayer and through action when it is appropriate. In what ways can you work to affirm the good and abolish the evil that is around you?

4. God wishes to use us as living stones to build His Kingdom. How can you work on disposing yourself more fully to being a living stone for His Kingdom?

Text: The Eucharist Sends Us Out On Mission

My name is Dr. Kenneth Howell, and I’m going to be speaking now tonight on the subject of the Eucharist, sends us out on mission. I’m glad you’re with us, and so I’d like to ask you to begin with me in prayer.

Opening Prayer

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Heavenly Father, in your mercy and in your grace, you have given to us the fullness of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This incomparable gift can only be matched by the love that we owe you in sending out, and sending us out to do your will in the world. Make us your apostles to let others know about Christ and to live in union with Him. And grant this all we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. In the name of the Father, son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Our Lives As An Offering to God

You know, in the past people have thought about the Eucharist and in ways of, especially about Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. And that of course is very important because the Saint John Chrysostom says, “Where Christ is, there is heaven”. And I presume that all of us listening here and talking today are people who want to go to heaven. So we can know that where Christ is there also is heaven. But we also need to remember that God placed us in this world to serve Him, to accomplish the mission which He has given us. And although He is given us a mission in general for all of us who profess Christ as our savior and are members of the church, nevertheless each one of us has a particular way in which we are to live out that mission in all that we do.

Tonight, what I’d like to do is to meditate together for a few moments on how we can become Eucharistic apostles. You know, in the third Eucharistic prayer that we hear in the church, quite often we hear these words may make of us an eternal offering to you. It’s a prayer that the priest prays in our behalf as we after offer ourselves up as an offering to God. The older translation that used to be used, oh about years ago was it said, may he make a bust, an everlasting gift to you.

Well, whatever translation we use, the meaning is basically the same. And that is that we are supposed to be giving our lives as an offering to God. This is what Paul talks about in Romans chapter when he says, “I beg you, I ask you” to present yourselves a living sacrifice to God. So tonight, what I would like to do, explore together is how we as those who’ve been privileged to come to the Eucharistic table, that altar of Christ where He presides as priest, where He is our food, where he is our victim.

A Special Possession

There’s a word I want to teach you today. It’s a small little Hebrew word. It’s the word “segula”. Segula is the word that we find translated in the Old Testament as a special treasure or a special possession. In fact, it’s only used about five or six times in the whole Old Testament. And yet it’s powerful in its meaning. So for example, the first text in which this is used in the Bible is in Exodus chapter nineteen. And so I’d like to read a few verses that contain this verse. “Then Moses went up to God and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, this is what you ought to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you ought to tell the children of Israel. You yourself have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you out on Eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. Now, if you’ll obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations of the world, you will be my treasured possession.” That’s the word, segula. “You’ll be my treasured possession, Although the whole earth is mine, says the Lord, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

A Kingdom of Priests and A Holy Nation

This is something of what Israel’s vocation was in the world. You see, God chose Israel, the people of Israel, not so that they could be unto themselves, but that they could be His apostles to share the knowledge of the true God with all the world. But first he had to remind them that they were specially treasured by God. And I think that the same thing is true for us. We have to remember that God treasures us in a very special way as His baptized Christian children. And once we realize this position as children or as sons of God, then we are willing to accept the mission that He has given to us. God says, you see what I did, what I did to Egypt? Well, what did God do to Egypt? Well, He brought a harsh judgment on Egypt because the Egyptians hardened their hearts against God. And then He says, I carried you out on eagles wings. In other words, I gave you a glorious redemption.

Now, neither the children of Israel going through the Red Sea nor Christ on the cross probably looked like a glorious redemption. But when you consider what that redemption accomplished, you can see how glorious it was. In other words, that redemption brought us into contact with union, with the true and living God. And that’s why He says, I brought you to myself, He united us to Himself. And there’s nothing better for a human being in this world than be you tonight, than to be united with the real God.

He goes on to call the children of Israel, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Every one of us, by virtue of our baptism, participate in the ministry of Christ as prophets, priests and kings. And you see that what he’s saying here, this combination of kingly and priestly, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation means that we are to be God’s instruments in bringing the whole world to God. This is no doubt what our Lord Himself meant at the very last of His life on earth when He said, go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Segula in Malachi

And the church today is like Israel of old. We too are called individually and corporately to seek holiness. And we are called to be priest of a sort, to bring others to God through sacrifice and through prayer. So you see this little word segula means that God especially looks upon you as one of His special treasures. If you’re like me, you love to see smiling and happy children. For example, every Sunday, like in my church, I see young parents with their children and and you see them having, you know, hugging their children and everything. It’s just wonderful, you know? But I don’t love those children like I love my own grandchildren. Oh no, those, they’re special treasure, and God treasures you in just that way. He considers you very special, but He gives you that special status so that you can serve Him in all that you do.

The second text I’d like to share with you today is Malachi chapter three, verses one through seven. This is another text where the word Segula appears, but it’s a very different context. In the Book of Exodus, they were coming out of Egypt, they were ready to go into the desert, and eventually they would go into the promised land. And Malachi, Malachi’s time, Israel was in exile in a sort of, oh, you might say a, a spiritual doldrums. And yet, and yet in that context, God still comes and says, you are my special treasure.

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name, they shall be mine, says the Lord, a host. And the day when I make up my treasured possession, my special possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.”

A Mission to Do the Will of God

Now, you’ll find this translated just a little bit differently in different versions, but basically the same meaning is there “a special possession”, “a treasured possession”. God’s saying that His love for us should move us to discern the difference between right and wrong. Because the problem in, in Malachi’s day was that not even the priest who are supposed to teach the people could discern the difference between right and wrong. Part of our mission is to look out into our society, see that which is good and to affirm it and then which is evil, to seek to abolish it from our society in whatever way we can first of course through prayer, but then also through action if that seems appropriate. But all of this action that we are supposed to do as servants, as apostles of the Eucharist grows out of the fullness of our filial devotion.

You remember that portion in the gospel of Mark when Jesus’ mother and brothers and sisters it says are coming to Him and the people, the disciples saying, your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside seeking you. And Jesus gives us that famous definition of what it means to be His brothers and His sister. In this way, by the way, He’s honoring His mother because when He says that whoever does the will of God, that is my brother, my sister, and my mother, the highest calling that any of us has in this life is to do the will of God. Well, that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?

But I’ve been reading a book lately from a great spiritual author by the name of Bonavernture Perquin called “Abba Father”. I’d encourage you to get ahold of this book and to read it because he talks a lot about our relationship with God as father and how we can serve him better in this life. He says that being a true child of God means that we must conform our will to the will of God. And the reason is because of what I spoke about in my first talk. Listen to what Father Perquin says. “Our master insists that our master (who is Christ) our master, insists on our constant loving submission to the Father’s will, because otherwise we should have no capacity to receive His gifts. When we comply with His wishes, He loads us with gifts and graces.”

You see, when our wills are conformed to the will of God, that opens us up more, our hearts, our souls so that He can pour down His grace into our lives and we can be more and more transformed into the image of His son. There are people that have learned this in a very difficult way.

We are His Eucharistic Apostles

Perhaps, you know, if you’ve heard of the name of Father Walter Ciszek, he wrote a book some years ago called “With God in Russia”, and then a second book called,”He Leadeth Me” from Psalm . In this book, father Ciszek tells the story of his life how he went to Russia to be a missionary. He was born I think in Pennsylvania somewhere and he became a Jesuit priest. He got authorization to go to Russia to be a missionary just after the Second World War. But soon after he got there, he was arrested for being a Vatican spy. He spent, I think it was years in Soviet prisons, much of that time in solitary confinement. As he wrestled, as he struggled to understand God’s will in his life, he finally realized that he came to Russia to be in prison, this was the will of God. And he tells the beautiful story of how he would get a little piece of bread, maybe some wine, and he would celebrate the Eucharist right there in prison.

What Father Ciszek, is trying to teach us in these books about his life is that sometimes and very often in fact, we can’t see what the will of God has for us. I know in my own life there are things that have happened to me I never imagined would ever happen at all. And yet these things grow the will of God, whatever, however God lead us, however, God guides us in the future of our lives. He wants us to be his eucharistic apostles to share with others the joy of knowing Christ, especially in the Eucharist.

2 Peter Chapter 2

And one final text I’d like to share with you tonight from the Scriptures is in the New Testament. Second Peter chapter two. In this text, Peter says, “If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good, you have come to Him as a living stone rejected by men, but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves are living stones being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

And then he goes on to say that “You are like you are coming to the cornerstone is Christ. And as spiritual stones as you are being built up, you too will be become a people that are for His own possession.” Now, in this text, the words that your people chosen and precious for God’s own possession is like, a translation into Greek of that Hebrew word segulah. So Peter is saying essentially the same thing that those Old Testament texts have said, and yet in a New Testament context, he’s saying that God is building His kingdom. And in building His kingdom, He is using living stones, you and me, to be able to share the message of Christ in the world.

I don’t know where you live or what your society is like, maybe live in another country, but here in the United States, I think many Christians are very troubled by the world in which we live right now, the thing that is needed in this world today is not more government, not more money, not more education, but the what they need is more of Jesus Christ.

And you and I as His baptized disciples have the privilege of sharing that knowledge with others. What people today need is transformation from the inside out. That’s why we should go out into all the world and preach the good news because Jesus Christ alone is the Savior. And the Catholic church alone has the treasure of the Eucharist to be able to share that with others. So my friend, my prayer for you today is that you would grow in the grace of Jesus Christ being transformed from the inside out, and in doing so, be motivated to go and to share the news of Jesus Christ with the world. And to that end, let me encourage you to pray, to pray that God would make you one of his eucharistic apostles.

Closing Prayer

Let’s close with a prayer. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Heavenly Father, as we come to the end of our retreat time together, we acknowledge that we depend upon you, and we thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ as both savior on the cross, powerful Lord and the resurrection and food for our souls.

In the Eucharist, we give our souls and our hearts to you and ask you that you bless us and keep us by your grace, that you work within us to lead us to the fullness of Christ, and that today, while we still live on earth, that we would be His apostles for the Eucharist. And we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, Amen. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.  

About Dr. Kenneth Howell

Dr. Kenneth Howell is the Resident Theologian and Director of Pastoral Care of the Coming Home Network International. He taught for thirty years in higher education and is the author of six books, one of which is published by Catholic Answers, The Eucharist for Beginners. He is a former Presbyterian minister and theological professor who entered into complete communion with the Catholic Church in 1996. He recently published “Mystery of the Altar: Daily Meditations on the Eucharist.”