Sunday, August 20, 2006

20th Sunday, Ordinary

This is the main gist of the reflection I gave Friday night during Adoration, based on this Sunday's Gospel, especially John 6:53-54:

On behalf of the Lord, I want to thank you for coming out on a Friday night to Church. We will have Adoration every Friday night from 7-8 pm here, and all are invited.

What a great part of the cycle of readings at Mass we are in these 4-5 Sundays: John, chapter 6, the Bread of Life discourse. This is where Jesus teaches us about the Eucharist. He spends more time on this teaching than on any other. It is a matter of life and death, as he tells us in John 6:53-54. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”.

In the Eucharist, then, we have eternal life! Now, someone may hear these lines from Christ, and think that the Eucharist is how we get to Heaven when we die. Certainly, that is part of what this means. But, the Lord says that when we receive the Eucharist, we have eternal life. At that moment! So, as we walk back to our pew after receiving Holy Communion, we have eternal life dwelling within us…in our bodies and our souls! We have the Kingdom of Heaven in us. We are tabernacles of Christ, carrying Him with us.

For us tonight, these verses mean that we are in the Presence of Eternal Life. We come out on a Friday night to be in a chamber of Heaven, gazing upon our Lord. We come to adore Christ, who is the Kingdom of Heaven. We have come to be in the Presence of Peace…in the Presence of Joy…in the Presence of Happiness…in the Presence of Love. As we look upon the Lord in adoration, we can see Peace and Love with our own eyes. We can see our God!

We also think about who else is here with us in the Eucharist. Where there is the Son, there is the Father and the Spirit. God is truly One. The Blessed Mother is here and all of the saints and angels. The Eucharist is where Heaven and Earth unite. All those who are in the Kingdom of Heaven are with us tonight, spiritually, and at every Mass. This amazing reality is what we call the “communion of saints”.

I celebrated my first funeral Mass as a priest this morning…for an infant. While it was very sad, it was also a beautiful celebration! This beautiful family of Baby Ikesi’s is a family of faith. Faith makes all the difference. They had baptized Ikesi, so we truly believe he is a saint in Heaven! I explained to them about the communion of saints, and how he would be spiritually present during the Mass in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It’s an awesome reality…he is still with them!

So, we come tonight to say, “thank you, Lord. Thank you for this amazing gift of the Eucharist. Thank you for allowing us to be in your presence tonight. We ask you to bring us your peace, your joy, and your love. This is a peace and joy and love that we can’t find anywhere else in the world. Help us to experience Eternal Life on Earth. Help us to come to you more faithfully in this Eucharist so that we might experience happiness on Earth. So that we might experience Heaven on Earth”.

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