Come to the feast — Eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart…

Again I dwell on the splendor and sweetness of the Eucharistic feast – the mysterious fulfillment of the promise that we would have joy in fullness regardless of our circumstances.

In the temple of old, the faithful chant and sing…

Psalm 117 (118)
[15] Hark, glad songs of victory
in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
[16] the right hand of the LORD is exalted,
the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!”
[24] This is the day which the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
[27] The LORD is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar!
[28] Thou art my God, and I will give thanks to thee;
thou art my God, I will extol thee.
[29] O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever!

In the temple built anew that fulfills the old which is His very Body, the faithful chant and sing…

Deck Thyself, My Soul, With Gladness
Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness,
leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
come into the daylight’s splendor,
there with joy thy praises render
unto him whose grace unbounded
hath this wondrous banquet founded;
high o’er all the heavens he reigneth,
yet to dwell with thee he deigneth.

Now I sink before thee lowly,
filled with joy most deep and holy,
as with trembling awe and wonder
on thy mighty acts I ponder;
how, by mystery surrounded,
depths no man hath ever sounded,
none may dare to pierce unbidden
secrets that with thee are hidden.

Sun, who all my life dost brighten;
Light, who dost my soul enlighten;
Joy, the sweetest man e’er knoweth;
Fount, whence all my being floweth:
at thy feet I cry, my Maker,
let me a fit partaker
of this blessed food from heaven,
for our good, thy glory, given.

Jesus, Bread of life, I pray thee,
let me gladly here obey thee;
never to my hurt invited,
be thy love with love requited;
from this banquet let me measure,
Lord, how vast and deep its treasure;
through the gifts thou here dost give me,
as thy guest in heaven receive me.
Source: Oremus Hymnal

A reading from “The Commentary on Ecclesiastes by St. Gregory of Agrigento

“Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, because it is now that God favours your works.” (Eccles 9.7)
If we want to explain this sentence in an obvious and ordinary way, we rightly assert that it appears as a just exhortation by which the Preacher admonishes us to embrace a simple rule of life dedi­cated to sincere faith in God and joyfully eat bread and drink wine in peace of mind; not to slip into evil conversations, nor wander into roundabout paths; but rather to dwell always on good things and, insofar as we can, benevolently and kindly come to the aid of the poor and needy. We must abandon ourselves precisely to those sentiments and actions in which God himself takes delight.

However, the anagogical explanation brings us to a higher knowledge and teaches us to consider the celestial and mystical bread which has come down from heaven and brought life to the world; and with a right heart to drink the spiritual wine, namely, that which issued from the side of the true vine immediately at the moment of his saving passion. Concerning these, the gospel of our salvation says: Taking bread and giving thanks, Jesus said to his disciples and Apostles: Take this and eat it: this is my body, which is sacrificed for you in remission of sins. Similarly, he took the cup and said: All of you must drink from it, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. Hence, those who eat this bread and drink this mystical wine really rejoice and exult and can exclaim in a loud voice: You put gladness into my heart.

Furthermore, I believe that even in the Book of Proverbs the Wisdom of God subsisting in himself, namely, Christ our Saviour, referred to this bread and wine when he said: Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed, indicating the mystical participation in the Word. Indeed, those to whom these words are to be applied, because of their merits, at all times present their vestments as works of light no less resplendent than the light itself, as the Lord says in the gospels: Your light must shine before all so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father. In this way, oil may perpetually be poured out over their heads, that is, the Spirit of truth, who protects and preserves them from any sinful offence. Source: TWO YEAR LECTIONARY, PATRISTIC VIGILS READINGS, ORDINARY TIME, WEEKS 18 to 34: YEAR II

In the fear of God and with faith draw near. Receive the Body of Christ; taste the fountain of immortality. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

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