Monday, November 08, 2010

32nd Sunday - homily

Years ago, a priest took his youth group to Italy. One of the places they went to was a Church that is a site of an Eucharistic miracle. There are hosts at the Church that are over 250 years old. Consecrated hosts are consecrated bread. They have the substance of the Body of Christ, but the qualities of bread. They usually decay as any bread does. These hosts haven’t shown any signs of decaying in 250 years. They are fresh, shiny, and smell like new unleavened bread. The Church has declared it a miracle. So, these high teens and their priest showed up at this Church one night, but it was already closed. The priest had to talk the pastor into letting them in; they were given 5 minutes. The priest told the kids to get in the Church and “be ready”. When he walked out with the monstrance that contained the hosts, he saw 50 high school teens on their knees, worshiping the hosts. He says it’s the greatest reverence and devotion he has ever seen. 50 kids on their knees!

Their reverence and devotion say a lot. They reveal a lot of faith. Now, it helped that they were in the presence of a miracle. Miracles help our faith. If you are struggling to believe in the Eucharist, then come check out the video we will show on Eucharistic miracles Tuesday night after dinner. It will help. God works miracles to help us believe, and He has worked at least 4 miracles in the Eucharist to help us believe in the Real Presence. But, this is what these teens believed. They believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, but they also believe so much more. They believe that He lives. They believe that He rose from the dead…that He is God of the living…that He is the Son of God…that everything He said is true…that the Catholic Church is truly from Him…and so forth.

Do you also believe this? Do you believe that Christ lives? This is the question! I ask you to think about this tonight, this week…really for the rest of your life. You have to be careful with your answer. If your answer is yes, then you’re like the Maccabees in the first reading. Their faith was most important – faith in God, in the resurrection of the dead, in the traditions of their faith. It was more important than their own lives. If your answer is no, then you are like the Sadducees who I like to call the “Sad, you see’s” ; they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. A Sadducee would come into this Church and say that the crucifix is still true…that Jesus is still dead. There are many people on this campus that would say the same thing. If your struggling to answer the question and are saying, “I don’t know”, that’s ok. This is the time in your life when you should be tackling the main questions of your faith in search of the Truth.

To help you think about all of this as it really is, think of the ten most important things in your life right now. You have classes, internships, student orgs, fraternities, sororities, relationships, family, etc. Where does Jesus Christ rank on your list? Is He in your top ten? If He’s not number one, then you don’t really believe that He lives. Why? Because if He lives, then He is God! He transcends all other things. All other things have their life from Him. He is life. He is the Resurrection and the Life. Also, if you believe that He rose from the dead, then you believe that he entered into the dead for you. He died for you. If you truly believed that He died and rose for you, then you would want to live with Him, die with Him, and rise with Him.

My guess is that you want to believe that He is living. You want to experience the God of the living. I have another suggestion, especially if you’ve never really had an experience of the living God. The suggestion is going to the FOCUS conference in January. I’ve never been, but from what I’ve heard, it will be amazing. I’ve been to events like this before, and trust me, you will experience the God of the living. You will see that God lives in the Eucharist and through the people who are there. If you’ve experienced the God of the living through our FOCUS missionaries, then there will be hundreds of them there. There will be thousands of other college students who will be with you in experiencing the God of the living. God wants to show you that He is living, and this is a perfect opportunity to enter into that. He wants you to know that He is the God of the living…He wants you to know His life. He wants you to know that He is God of the loving…He wants you to know His love. He has infinite life and love for each one of you. May you come forward Tuesday night and in January to experience the God of the living.

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