Fr. Tim’s Homily Sunday, June 14, 2020


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Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 14b-16a
1 Corinthians 10: 16-17
John 6: 51-58

I was ordained a priest 45 years ago today.  And I celebrate five of those years being with you here at Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes.

I remember my ordination morning so well. It took place for me and my ­­­classmates on 14 June 1975 in Holy Family Church in Parma, at the hands of our then-Bishop James A. Hickey. The only sadness for me that day was the absence of my father, who had died of melanoma at the age of 44, three years earlier. But then I remember looking at my mother and my family and realizing that my dad had the best seat in the house from the vantage point of heaven!
Jesus gave us the Sacrament of Holy Orders so that we could continue to do what He did at the Last Supper: to celebrate the Eucharist. “Do this in memory of Me,” He said. And we continue to do what He told us to do.
During Mass what happens to bread and wine runs counter to what our senses tell us. After the consecration they appear to be the same as they were before. But our faith tells us that they are substantially different. While they still appear to be bread and wine, they no longer are. What – or Who – is before us is none other than Jesus Christ Himself, with His Body and Blood, His soul and divinity.

At the beginning of creation, the Book of Genesis tells us, the Eternal Word of God spoke and said:  “Let there be light.”  And there was light.
At the Last Supper, Jesus, the Eternal Word of God made flesh, said:  “This is My Body.  This is My Blood.  Take and eat.  Take and drink.  Do this in Memory of Me.”
The Living Word assures us that the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion is really what He declares:  it is truly Himself.  

Mary carried Jesus in her womb for nine months before He was born in Bethlehem.  She was a living tabernacle, a sanctuary of His presence.

We carry Him in our bodies when we receive Him in Holy Communion. We too are a living tabernacle, a sanctuary of His presence.
As Saint Paul tells us in the second reading today: “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” [1 Corinthians 10: 17]. Paul means what he says: the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus. In the Eucharist we are one with Christ and one with each other in Him.

There is a refrain from a hymn called “Sanctuary” that says:
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You.

When did you receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the very first time?  I made my First Holy Communion on 5 May 1957 in Saint Peter’s Church in Huron.  I remember so well that day and the preparation that led to it.
How many times have you and I received Jesus as of today?  I have no idea.  But the temptation that we can face is to treat the Mass as “routine.”  Routine can be a very good thing when it helps us establish good habits or virtues.  But it can also lead to “just going through the motions” – even in celebrating Mass and receiving the Eucharist.
Returning to the public celebration of Mass, after all those weeks of fasting from the Eucharist, can help us to re-kindle our appreciation for Jesus’ gift to us of Himself.

Saint John Vianney said that “an entire lifetime would not be enough to thank God for one reception of Holy Communion.”
Another holy person said that “all of the good works in the world do not equal the value of one Mass.”
Saint John Bosco taught wisely that “we don’t receive the Eucharist because we are good, but to become good and pleasing to God.”
Another person said that “the words of creation are not greater than the words of the consecration – that bring to us our Creator.”
And, “if the angels could receive Holy Communion just once, they would spend eternity thanking God for the privilege.”

“Sanctuary” says it so well:

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for you.
This really puts us in the right frame of mind today for this feast of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of the Eucharist.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for you.