Monday, April 28, 2008

A miracle not to be missed.

April 27, 2008
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Mass Readings:
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
1 Peter 3:15-18
John 14:15-21

Last night I celebrated a First Communion Mass. It was beautiful. The kids were all excited and more than a bit nervous. They had all worked very hard and were prepared yet they were a bit scared. One could say that they were scared because of being in front of a church packed full of adults snapping pictures and gushing over how nice they looked. However, I think their nervousness might be because they truly were in awe of what was about to happen, a miracle not to be missed!

As Christians we look for miracles. We pray daily for the miraculous and we often times pray for big miracles. We pray for an end to illness, poverty, war and the like. Unfortunately we can become disillusioned when we believe that our miracle hasn't been granted. So busy can we become looking for the "big miracle" that we completely miss the miracles that God showers upon us every day. The Eucharist is such a miracle and I think the kids last night understood that. The Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ for us from simple bread and wine, is the source and summit of our faith. This great gift is our hope and strength.

This miracle, this gift which we receive today is about transformation. I always marvel at how blase we can become when it comes to receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. For some, receiving Communion is like going through a drive-up window. Come in late, receive, leave early so we can get to our other activities on time. Or we come forward to receive while our heart is filled with so many other things and we don't even pay attention to what we are doing. Worse, we may receive while we are angry and obsessing on thoughts of payback. Regardless, when we receive while obsessing on other things we miss the miracle.

To receive the Body and Blood of Christ is to be transformed into the One we receive. When we come forward, we are declaring that we believe, we believe that Jesus is present and that this is holy ground. We are to become like the One we receive. To receive the Body and Blood of Christ is to be committed to being transformed into the very likeness of Christ. The Eucharist is a gift. All gifts must be received, opened, and used, otherwise they are nothing. Jesus gives us this gift so that we can accept it, draw strength from it and then go forth in his name to be his disciples.

I pondered last night how do I change because of the Eucharist? Do I choose to be different because of it? Do I receive and then go back to my old ways? How do we as a people become different because of this miracle? Do we get in our cars after receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord and then proceed to curse at the other driver who just cut us off in traffic? Do we plot paybacks after we have said amen to the Body and Blood of our Salvation? How can we be the same old people after we have encountered this miracle?!

We gather together today to witness and receive a miracle. We gather today to become a people renewed by the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ. We come forward to receive the One who is our life! We leave this church building to be like the very One we have received. The gift given given, the gift received, the gift used.

I remember one of the monks at the monastery who use to pray this during the Mass; "This is the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Broken but never divided. Eaten, yet never Consumed. Happy are those called to this Supper." That is a part of my prayer every time I celebrate Mass. Let us receive this great miracle with the gratitude and reverence deserved and let us become like the One we receive. Amen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I am running achingly behind and I apologize. Updates to follow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

All God all the time.

March 21, 2008
Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Mass Readings:
Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
John 18:1—19:42

I AM. Two simple words that are the most powerful ever spoken. Jesus is using the very words that God the Father spoke to Moses. I AM. Those two simple words wrap up the most mind boggling reality. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are all that is, was, and ever will be. God, the uncaused first cause. This is next to impossible to wrap our brain around. Jesus declares to the apostles that in him, all that is possible exists and is brought to fulfillment.

There is no way that we can ever be outside of God. God is everything. All that is good, life giving, is of God. When we experience the bad things that come in life, God is there to give us all that is good. When we are afraid, God is there to comfort us. God is present in all the good times and bad sustaining us and guiding us.

We cannot ever be separated from God. Even if we consciously choose to ignore God, God does not ignore us. When we choose to defy God, God does not defy us. God cannot turn his back on us. God is from the beginning, all that is, was, and ever will be. To live is to be surrounded by and filled with God's presence.

Today we reflect upon the horror of the crucifixion. We are horrified by the image of Jesus' sacrifice upon the cross. How can it be that the God who is everything can be nailed to a cross!? It just doesn't make sense to our modern sensibilities. Yet the crucifixion is again, proof that God is all that can be. God the Son becomes our weakness and takes upon himself the sin that is ours so that we may be saved. So complete is God's power that God becomes the sacrifice so that we might live! God becomes the weakness of sin so that we might be strong. God becomes the horror so that we might not be afraid. God takes on death in order to conquer it so that we might live!

God is life. God is all. God simply is everything.