it is the holy sacrifice of jesus christ on the cross and in the mass that will unify the world in one faith
Homily for Holy Thursday, April 18th, 2019:
If you want to be united in a strong, Catholic faith, attend Holy Mass faithfully. It is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which will unite all of us and bring all of us, regardless of our faith, back into the fold of one faith, one church, one union, just as Jesus and God His Father are one (John 17:22).
St. Paul explains this in his first letter to the Corinthians. St. Paul has seen the Corinthians abuse the celebration of the liturgy/mass. So he informs them how to celebrate it. St. Paul inserts in these instructions the institution of the Eucharist. He emphasizes Jesus’s repetition over the bread and the cup the words “Do this in remembrance of me”(Luke 22:19;1 Cor 11:24). St. Paul argues that Jesus’s self-offering and His death are proclaimed in the liturgy and they are antidotes to the splits and factions that plague the Christian church in Corinth. He argues that Jesus’s life and death are more than simple memories. They are unifiers! The Eucharistic celebration is significant and timeless. St. Paul writes that when Christians share Jesus’s Body and Blood, they recall Jesus’s command to do this “in remembrance of me”(Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24). They also recall Jesus’s death and look forward to His Second Coming in glory. In this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, three stages of time unite: the past (the original Last Supper), the present (our celebration here today), and the future (Jesus’s Second Coming in glory). This is a life-changing event that only Jesus Christ can do, and He does, in His Real Presence in Eucharist. St. Paul also says something else that is very important: “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me’”(1 Cor 11:23-24). It is those words “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you,…(1 Cor 11:23) that are important. St. Paul celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because it has been handed on to him in his ordination to the priesthood. This was handed on to him, indirectly by the Apostles. He did not take this upon himself. He was commissioned/ordained for it. St. Paul tells the Corinthians the new covenant is ratified in Jesus’s blood, shed for sinners.
St. John’s gospel reading places Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper before Passover. But St. John doesn’t describe the Eucharistic dimension as the other gospel writers do. St. John emphasizes union. He emphasizes the union of Jesus Christ with God His Father and the Holy Spirit, Jesus’s union with His disciples, and the disciples’ union with each other. The uniting force is love, love for each other and love for Jesus Christ. Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. He washes Judas’s feet too, even though Judas is the unclean one. Jesus then tells them to wash each others’ feet too. St. John emphasizes Jesus’s and our humility in order to perform this menial task, on our knees, for God’s people. It is a lesson in humility. Humility is needed to perform a service of charity. They do this after eating and drinking at the liturgical celebration of Eucharist. Jesus promises that they will be happy if they perform these menial duties for others.
Union is the result of all of this: liturgy, service. These acts unify because of love. And it is love that Jesus demonstrates through this incredible self-offering of Himself on the Cross, in His Real Presence of His Body and Blood in Eucharist, and in performing the menial tasks of humble Christian service.
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