June 3, 2018
Jun 26, 2018
Sometime in the next few months I want us to do a new adult education series on the Mass. Bishop Barron, an auxiliary Bishop from Los Angeles is coming out with a new series on the Mass that really looks interesting and I think it would be good for us to do.
This Solemnity of Corpus Christi that we celebrate today reminds us in a very clear way how much all of us, myself included, desperately need to enter more fully into what it is we celebrate when we gather together for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I won’t speak for you, but I know it is so very easy for me to get distracted here at times – to lose focus on what it is we really celebrate, or more importantly on who it is we celebrate – so we need days like today for all of us to be renewed in what it is we believe.
St. John Vianney said that if we truly understood the Mass, we would die of joy. If we truly understood the Mass we would die of joy. How profound is that – and to be honest how utterly foreign is that to us most days.
In every other aspect of our lives, we are used to dealing with the ordinary – the ho-hum, monotonous parts of life that we just struggle to get through in order to move onto something else, that may or may not be equally mundane. And sadly, that can be what we do here as well. To treat this as a hoop to jump through, or even an exercise in vanity so that we can feel better about ourselves. And yet, what takes place here is so far removed from all of that kinda stuff.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that is celebrated here some 6 days a week, is an encounter with Heaven. And again, we don’t tend to look at it that way. We tend to think of heaven as seeing grandma again or laying on a beach with a margarita – neither of which is bad per-se, certainly not the margarita part – but that’s not what Heaven is. Heaven is eternal communion with God – and that is what we have a foretaste of here in the Mass.
In the Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ – we don’t have simply an idea, it’s not like Jesus or a cute thing to do to reenact what Jesus once did – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a living encounter with Jesus Christ truly present, body and blood, soul and divinity – the God of all creation comes to us day after day on this altar, and He invites us to participate in an intimate and eternal communion with Him. Union with God in the here and now – Heaven on earth.
We lose touch with that so easily. We so easily enter into this as a common and ordinary experience – like going to dunkin donuts. We treat it like an egalitarian encounter – instead of the transcendent intimacy with God that it is. And we all need to grow in that.
And I think one of the principal ways we grow in that is through profound reverence – through thinking about what we do here – through entering fully into the Sacrifice through prayers and songs and silence, through our actions and postures of reverence – especially before and after we receive holy communion, we do it through our dress, through a deliberate act of the will to surrender ourselves in fear and awe to the greatness of God that we encounter here.
We do it through a worthy reception of Holy Communion – through fasting before Mass, through the Confession of our mortal sins before Mass. We enter into this Sacrifice by not allowing anything to separate us from it –
Which is why the Church always provides merciful remedies for our sins that separate us from full communion with God. Which is why we have Confessions – it’s why if we were Married outside of the Church or need an annulment, the solution is readily available, just come and talk to me and we will make it right… All of it to bring us back to full communion with God.
Nothing, nothing in our lives is worth being separated from Jesus for – we need Him, desperately in our lives, to lift us up out of the crazy, and to place us into His divine presence of healing, love, and peace. That’s what we celebrate here. And I think it’s something we all need to grow in. I know I do.
Let us then truly prepare our minds and hearts to receive the bread of angels, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, with reverence, humility, contrition, and devotion – not just as something nice to do, but as it truly is, for the salvation of our souls. God help us all! +