My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
Every Sunday we normally listen to a reading from the Old Testament which is usually connected to the message of the Gospel for that Sunday. But this is not the case during the Easter Season. During this special time the Liturgy of the Word begins with a reading from the Acts of the Apostles where St. Luke gives us an inside view of the early church and how those first Christians worshiped.
It was common for them to gather in the home of one or another of the baptized members. These gathering almost always took place around a meal during which one of the apostles or one designated by them would read from the Sacred Scriptures and then explain the scripture in such a way that the people would be able to make application to their everyday life. This was usually followed by what has become to be called “the breaking of Bread.” This was when the apostle or the one designated by them by the laying on of hands (ordination) would take bread and wine and pronounce the words of consecration over them thus changing them into the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus. This was their way of celebrating Eucharist.
For us who live in the 21st century, our Mass is based on pretty much the same format as that of the early church. We come together around the table of the Lord – the altar, which is the focal point of our gathering. Once we recognize the Lord’s presence among us, we listen to the readings from the Sacred Scriptures. Since the apostle handed down the power of Holy Order through the laying on of hands, it is the ordained deacon or priest who reads the Gospel selection of the day and then, through the homily, interprets the Word of God in a way that makes it easier for the listener to make application in their own daily lives.
Then once the gifts are prepared, the priest, who gets his authority directly from the apostles thru the laying on of hands by the bishop, takes bread and wine and pronounces over them the words of consecration that were given to the church by Christ Himself during the Last Supper. At this point, the substance bread and wine is changed into the true Body and Blood of Christ. This is the heart of our Catholic faith. It is interesting to note that when we participate in Mass we are actually participating in the Last Supper. Remember that with God there is no time line, it is the eternal now.
The Eucharist makes us one with Jesus himself and gives us the grace and strength to live the message that we have just received in the Liturgy of the Word. Because Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is kept in the tabernacle for two reasons, to be able to take communion to the sick and secondly to be able to come before the Lord to adore Him. You and I need to find the time to visit with Him ever present in the Blessed Sacrament. Monday Adoration is good time for us to do this.
As we go about our daily lives, let us become more aware of the presence of the Resurrected Christ in our midst. Let us frequently call to mind His message given to us during the Liturgy of the Word during our Sunday Mass; and then do everything in our power to live that message. Let us become more aware that when we receive the Eucharist at Holy Communion, we actually become the Eucharist, become one with Jesus himself and make Him present wherever we go.
From the early Christians we learn how to make a difference in a confused world by actually living the life that we received at baptism when we became part of His Body and He began to live in us as we also began to live in Him.
Many of you made the time during Lent to participate in Mass during the week. You did this for 40 days. I know that this made a difference in your life. But now that Lent is over and we are in the Easter Season, many of you have stopped coming to daily Mass. Let me encourage you to continue to make the time and participate in the 7:30 a.m. Mass Monday thru Thursday and the 8:00 a.m. Mass on Friday. If the Eucharist is truly the center of our Catholic faith, as we have learned from the early Christians, then we will want to participate in the Eucharistic celebration (Mass) as much as possible.
As the radio ad says about Motel 6,” I will leave the light on for you.” I hope to see you more often at Mass. May you continue to celebrate Easter with much joy and may you find the courage to invite others to come home, to come back to the Eucharist.
I love you,