FAMILY NOTES - XI Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 13, 2021
Dear friends, peace in Christ Jesus!!
SUNDAY MASS: For the past year we Catholics have been dispensed from the obligation of Sunday Mass. As of next weekend, June 19/20, Cardinal Sean would have us all return to our 2,000-year-old practice of Mass on Sunday. This call from the mouth of Cardinal Sean is really the loving invitation of our Lord Jesus Himself. Through Sean Jesus invites. What a lovely thought!! I know that some of us are not ready. You have told me of your still fearing infection. Please come back as your comfort returns. Perhaps for many of us reforming our lives into the “habit of Sunday Mass” is something to work on. Catholic teaching says that ‘habit’ is the mother virtue. Mass on Sunday is a beautiful habit. Also, some of you are disillusioned with Catholicism. My advice is simple. Focus on Jesus. It is He who says, “Do this in memory of me.”
ENCOURAGEMENT: St. Thomas Aquinas offers some excellent and encouraging thoughts about Eucharist. “O precious and wonderful banquet that brings salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value?....Here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues increased, and the soul enriched with abundance of every spiritual gift. In the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion. (It is) the greatest of all his miracles; it was destined to be (our) unique and abiding consolation” (Office of Readings for Corpus Christi). (Emphasis added).
SOURCE AND SUMMIT: The Eucharist is “the source and summit” of Catholic life. Christ’s Real Presence in His greatest sacrament unites us here and now with the eternal Sacrifice He offered on the Cross. By His grace we, His ancient Church, have kept the faith all these years. Consider that in the early Church the Abitinian Martyrs were arrested for celebrating Sunday Mass. Promised their lives if they would abandon Sunday Eucharist, they refused saying, “Sine dominico non possumus!” In modern English they were saying, “Without Sunday Mass we cannot live!” And so they died rather than give it up. They are our fathers and mothers in the faith. Their reasoning challenges me and you to examine our faith and therefore our loyalty to the Mass, doesn’t it? Saint Tarsisius, a young boy in ancient Rome, was chosen to carry the Eucharist to those in prison for Christ. Attacked by a gang in the street who demanded that they see what he was protecting, he refused. He died guarding the Blessed Sacrament with his life. Doesn’t his faith and courage encourage people like you and me?
HEAVEN: Now let us at last consider the greatest and ultimate reason for Eucharistic worship. Jesus ties together the Eucharist and Heaven. His solemn words deserve our serious consideration. He is our unique hope, our solid hope for salvation.
He said, “Amen, Amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. The one who feeds on me will have life because of me. Whoever eats this bread will live forever” (John 6: 53-54,56,57).
I go to Mass for many reasons and so do you. But my ultimate reason is Heaven. I know that ‘no one comes to the Father except through Him’ (John 14:6). Heaven is the goal. We return to this Catholic thing of Mass on every Sunday to receive His guarantee of a future life beyond pandemics and suffering and fear. So, let me encourage you with the simple advice heard from the mouth of Saint John Paul II on Boston Common, 42 years ago, “Come to Christ.”
God bless. JFH