11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear Epiphany Family,
I write on the eve of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. What an incomparable gift we have in the Catholic Church in which the very sacrifice of Christ and His resurrection is made present to us at each Mass! An incomparable gift in which the God of the universe humbles Himself under the mere appearance of a white host and feeds us with Himself, His very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. St. John Vianney said that “if we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy”. An incomparable gift in which all the members of the Body of Christ are invited to offer the sacrifice of Jesus to the Father in the Holy Spirit for the Church and the world, as we unite the sacrifice of our lives to that of Christ. St. Augustine said that “it is your mystery, the mystery of your life that has been placed on the altar”. We can never thank and praise God enough for this amazing gift, a gift that perhaps we can easily treat as routine or take for granted.
I have been very blessed to both attend and celebrate Mass in many places, including celebrating Mass from my parents’ basement all the way to the tomb of Jesus, the place of the resurrection, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Although the places have changed, the incomparable miracle, gift an mystery still remains the same.
We are so blessed in our city, our diocese, and generally in our country to have so many opportunities to participate in the Mass. As a seminarian I was very blessed to spend some time with the Missioners of Christ in Honduras for three weeks one January. The situation in Honduras (and in many other places) is very different from our experience of the Church here. One parish could have as many as 30 “mission” sites, all served by one priest. Many of these mission sites were difficult to reach with the rugged roads that led there. Part of the Missioners of Christ mission was to reach and walk alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ who may have very limited access to the sacraments. I was able to visit several small, almost primitive villages, where a priest might only be able to visit once a year or so. Although the people were materially poor they were very joyful and so thankful to have their brothers and sisters in the faith visit, and especially thankful for the opportunity to celebrate Mass and the sacraments. My experience spanned New Year’s Eve, in which we celebrated Mass and also had Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until midnight. Although the singing of the people was off-key, it was definitely some of the most beautiful and devout singing I have heard in my life. Their faith and gratitude for the Eucharist was so inspiring. What an incomparable gift we have and are called to share!