Monday, October 10, 2011

In the Eucharist, God Wipes Every Tear, Calms Every Fear, and Destroys Death Forever

A few weeks ago I had the great privilege of reconciling a woman with God by giving her the last sacraments of confession, anointing of the sick and the Most Holy Eucharist.  When I went into her hospice room, she was clearly full of anxiety, fear, and trepidation, but after receiving holy communion, all of that left her and it seemed as if death itself was conquered in her.  She died peacefully soon after.

Listen to my homily for today, the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

In today's readings for Mass, we learn that it is in the Holy Eucharist that God says,

On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
the web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from every face;
the reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.

Jesus invites us to the wedding banquet of the Lamb, the Eucharistic Feast on the very love of God.  When we receive him worthily, we are transformed to become living invitations to the Eternal Life, a life which we participate in on earth in the Holy Mass.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the Eucharist, "the foretaste of heaven and the pledge of future glory."  Jesus said in John 6:54-56,
"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."
Some people struggle with faith in the mystery that each consecrated host is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, even priests.   There was a priest in the 8th century in the Church who doubted the real presence and so asked the Good Lord to manifest his real presence that his doubts may be healed.  Jesus answered his prayer.  During the Mass, the host began to bleed and was transformed into flesh-like substance.  This became known as the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy, where it happened.

For millennia this host has remained fresh, as if it just started bleeding.  In 1970, Pope Paul VI authorized forensic scientific research on the eucharistic species.  The analyses were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs.
These analyses sustained the following conclusions:
  • The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
  • The Flesh is a "HEART" complete in its essential structure.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

If this is truly GOD almighty whom we receive, the very Heart of Jesus Christ, why doesn't this mystery transform us?  The reason is perhaps that we while we may receive him sacramentally, we do not receive him spiritually.  We do not allow Jesus to receive us, to take us up into himself.  This is because our approach to the Eucharist remains very self-centered.

Why don't people go to Mass?  They center this mystery on themselves.  They want to get something out of it.  It is raining.  I am not in the mood.  There is a football game on today.  I don't like the parish.  The priest's preaching doesn't grab me.  All of these are excuses you hear, and all of them are based on ME.  If you center the Mass on receiving the living Person of Jesus Christ, you will not be able to sit through a Mass and not be riveted, moved, transformed, and rejoiced, that the living God comes to feed you with his very being, his love, and his grace.

May Our Lady, Mother of the Eucharist, help us to receive Jesus well, that we may become living invitations to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

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