Verbum Domini. The Word of the Lord.
Deo Gratias. Thanks be to God.
These are the corrected translations that we will now use in the Mass. We used to say, "This is the Word of the Lord." This is actually not only not a correct translation but also incorrect theology. Only the Eucharistic species, the consecrated host, can we say
Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. For this is my Body.
Listen to my homily for this Sunday:
If you have trouble listening, click here.
Only in the Eucharist can we point to this sacred thing, this holy object and say, "This IS God." The only other place we say this is in heaven. St Thomas Aquainas points this out when he says that we point to anywhere in the created order and say, "God is here." We say that about beautiful landscapes, about a loving family, about the Word of God proclaimed in the Church, and even, he says, you can say that about hell concerning the justice of God, for even God is present even to those who have rejected him. This why we cannot say "This is God," when we point to the book with pages of the words of the Gospel written on it, or even the proclamation of that same Gospel. God is here, but you can even reject the message. He is proclaimed and made present only as much as he is received in faith. Yet in the Eucharist his presence has been localized and objectified so that we may approach him.
So it is very important for us to recognize that faith is necessary to make Jesus present in his proclaimed Word. We know the Word is not a thing, but a person, Jesus Christ. For in John 1:1 we hear:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So the Word, Jesus, must be accepted in faith by those to whom he has been given. In the proclamation of the Word of God, we believe that the living Jesus Christ is being proclaimed, or in other words, He is speaking directly to us. He has a personal and unique and intimate message for me, for us.
What is he saying today, in today's readings for Sunday Mass? Forgive. Your eternal life depends on it. His mercy is infinite, but not infinitely given to me unless I permit it. For I pray the Our Father in which I say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." That part of it, the "AS" is quite frightening because Jesus tells us that we will be forgiven only in as much as we are ready to forgive others.
A woman died and was on the way to meet God. She saw another woman being dragged by demons to hell and heard a voice say, "She is being sent to the fiery pit because she would not forgive her family members." After the woman met the Lord who told her that she still had some work left to do on the earth she was resuscitated and told this story. Are we surprised? Jesus said this in the Gospel. Let us have faith in his words and let them save us and direct our hearts to forgive all.
Pray with me now:
Lord Jesus Christ, Lamb of God who was slain for my offenses and suffered for my sins, if there is anyone I have not forgiven in my life, any lurking grudge, animosity, unforgiveness, hatred, contempt, resentment, bitterness, or anger, I ask you to wash it from my heart by the flood of your holy mercy. My heart, O Lord, is small and cannot forgive on its own, but by your grace, and by your example, as I see you forgive all with courageous generosity, I too wish to forgive as I have been forgiven. I promise to try to forgive anyone who has ever offended me. Please enlighten me if there are any whom I hold bound, any prisoners I keep, and thus become imprisoned myself. Show me, O Lord, your mercy, and grant me your salvation. Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a Mother to me now. Amen.