The Hidden Depths of the Mass #30

The Eucharistic Prayer – The Concluding Doxology

The Eucharistic Prayer ends with the priest saying, “Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.”

Everything that happens in the Mass happens through the Lord.  The bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  “We celebrate the memorial of the saving Passion of your Son, his wondrous Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, and as we look forward to his second coming, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice” (Eucharistic Prayer III).

What we celebrate in the Eucharist is beyond “amazing.”  How do we respond?  With one word, “Amen.”  Amen means we believe what has been said and done.

Good News is Hard to Find

As I have said before, there are many people who choose not to watch the news because it is full of negativity.  I myself watch the news less than I used to because of the negativity along with seeing a bias in the news that is being reporting.  I still try to stay informed of what is going on in the world but it is not easy.

I would like to think that the news agencies aren’t deliberately being negative.  Rather, they are simply looking for eye-catching headlines that gets people’s attention.  If you look at the news on the internet, which headline would you be more likely to click on, “Police help at soup kitchen” or “Police kill wrong person in a raid”?   (The same may be asked about “gossip”.)

Of course, we can also look at how they portray a story.  We all have our own way of looking at things but we need to be careful how our personal “bias” influences what we look at.  For instance, I am very much pro-life.  That does not mean that I should “cancel” out everything said by anyone who is not pro-life.  We must listen for valid points they might say on other issues.  I might agree with one person on pro-life issues while taking a very different position than the same person on another issue like immigration.  Even on pro-life issues we need to be aware of their arguments such as concern for the woman’s health in a difficult pregnancy.  Abortion is never a good thing.  While working for an end to all abortions, we must be attentive to the mother’s health as well as the baby’s.

In his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis talks about those who seek out news that agrees with them and declare that news to be right and do not listen to any other perspective.  I wrote four articles (see my page “Our Relationships With Others”) reflecting on Fratelli Tutti.  To my point today two of those articles, “Our Relationships with One Another” and “Seeking Real Dialogue”, are relevant and I encourage you to read them if you have not read them in the past. 

The “cancel culture” seen in many today where they simply tune out anyone who disagrees with them is not good.  In the articles I mentioned above I develop this more.  For today’s purpose I offer the following quote from Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti

When individuals or groups are consistent in their thinking, defend their values and convictions, and develop their arguments, this surely benefits society. Yet, this can only occur to the extent that there is genuine dialogue and openness to others (203, emphasis added).

Before I drift any further from my original intent, I return to the idea of negativity in the news.  Sometimes, we have to keep paying attention to news that we don’t like to find hope.  For instance, I have been very disappointed of the Catholic Church in Germany has taken in the last couple of years in its ongoing synod (see Catholic News Agency “German Synodal Way”).  However, I find some hope in this week’s news that they have halted a vote on their next step at the Vatican’s request (see Jonathan Liedl, National Catholic Register as posted on Catholic News Agency, “German bishops halt move toward establishing a Synodal Council at Vatican’s request” February 17, 2024.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256878/german-bishops-halt-move-toward-establishing-a-synodal-council-at-vaticans-request.) 

Prayer does work if we pray in accord with God’s Will.  Fulfilling God’s Will requires us to realize that all people are children of God. There is good in each person.  There is always hope with God.

There are deceitful people.  Here I think of the recent news story of a LGBT activist’s funeral that was held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.  Other LGBT activists tried to seize this story to say the Catholic Church is finally changing it position on LGBT.  Meanwhile, Catholics who affirm Catholic teaching on LGBT issues were lamenting the news.  When the truth came out, the parish had no idea that the person was a LGBT person/activist.  They were asked to do a funeral and they did it in compassion.  The person who was in charge of the funeral arrangements admits they never said anything to the church about the person’s lifestyle choices.  Once the parish and the Archdiocese found out the truth, they clarified their agreement with Catholic teaching and offered a Mass of Reparation (see Daniel Payne, “St. Patrick’s Cathedral offers reparation Mass after ‘scandalous’ funeral for trans activist,” February 17, 2024 at https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256876/pastor-of-st-patricks-cathedral-responds-to-scandalous-funeral-for-transgender-activist and look for related stories.)

A funeral should never be about advancing an agenda, political or personal.  A Catholic funeral service is meant to recognize that Jesus Christ gave his life on the Cross so that all who believe in him as they way and the truth and the life will be welcomed into the heavenly kingdom.  There is hope when we set aside our own agendas in favor of God’s Will.  Catholics who hold to our Catholic teaching on LGBT issues may have been initially disheartened at the news of this funeral (I was) but we find hope in knowing the parish was trying to do the right thing, not advance an ideology contrary to Catholic teaching.

There are deceitful people in the world.  There are also good people.  We can struggle to know God’s Will and to actually do it.  However, it is possible when we turn our hearts to God.  Every time a saint is canonized, it shows that there are good people in this world.  Every time a saint is canonized, it is proof that miracles still happen because the canonization of a saint requires that two miracles have been proven through their intercession.

When you hear bad news that makes you cry, know that you do not cry alone.  God cries with you.  When you pray for God to make things better, ask him what He wants you to do to help.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

P.S. My website has been undergoing a major redesign in its appearance that will be public any day now.  As that change happens, some of the links to my own website in this article may not work.  If you have any problems using the links, please use the comment link below to let me know.

1st Sunday of Lent, Year B – Homily

1st Sunday of Lent, Year B – Homily
Genesis 9:8-15
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9, (10)
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15

Repent and believe in the gospel.”

These are the words that were said as ashes were placed on the foreheads of people as we began Lent last Wednesday.

They are also among the first words Jesus said as He began his public ministry.  Jesus came to lead us to repentance.

Why do we need to repent? 

Because we have sinned. 

Satan has tempted us and we failed to resist the temptations.

Is it possible to resist temptation?

Sin is nothing new.  Humans have been sinning since the days of Adam and Eve.  There is something in our humanity that makes it difficult for us to resist sin.  (Here lies “original sin”).

In the days of Noah, sin had become so prevalent that God decided to cleanse the earth of sin by a great flood.  After the flood, God made a covenant with his people that He would never again destroy the creatures of the earth with a flood. 

As a sign of this covenant, God set a bow in the clouds, the rainbow.  The treasure at the end of a rainbow is not a pot of gold.  The treasure is something far more valuable, God’s covenant with us.

While God, in his great love, has promised not to destroy us with a flood again, we still struggle against temptation.  Sin is spreading even now.  If the world continues in its sin, God won’t have to destroy anything.  We will do it ourselves.

Is it possible to resist temptation?

Jesus spent 40 days in the desert tempted by Satan.  It was God’s Will for Jesus to face this temptation for “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert” for this.

The desert is a place of isolation and little water and food.  How easy would it be to tempt you there? 

Jesus had to face his temptation himself, but He did not do so alone for “angels ministered to him.” 

God guided the Israelites during the Exodus by an angel.  Angels ministered to Jesus.  God gives each of us a guardian angel to guide us.  When we face temptation, do we listen to our guardian angel?

What tempts you?  The same thing is not a temptation to everyone.  A simple example is chocolate.  Many people are tempted to have chocolate but not everyone.  Some don’t care for it.  For me, some things with chocolate are very tempting while others I have no interest in.

What tempts you to mortal sin?  Money, power, lust?

God is concerned with the way we live our lives.  Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.  His way is love.  He offers us Truth.  Satan tempts us with lies.  Truth is a better way.  You can’t count on one who lies. 

At times we fail against temptation but do not lose hope.  For, as we read in Peter, “Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.

Jesus died for us.  He died for you.  He didn’t have to do this.  Jesus did not give into the temptation Satan placed before him.  Jesus chose to die for our sins.

Look at his love.  In John 15:13, Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  This is precisely what Jesus does for us on the Cross.   See his love and know you can trust him.

God has forgiven his people over and over.  Every time the people in the Old Testament repented and turned back to God’s ways, He forgave them. 

God wants us to come to him for forgiveness.  He gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation to confess our sins and receive his forgiveness because He is eager to forgive us. 

God’s commandments are what is good for us.  Follow his way.  Seek God’s Word to guide you.  Listen to your guardian angel.  Seek the strength Jesus offers in the Eucharist as we receive his Body and Blood.

The Hidden Depths of the Mass #28

The Eucharistic Prayer – The Oblation

The greatest sacrifice ever offered is the sacrifice of Jesus freely giving his life for us on the Cross.  As Jesus says in John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The Eucharistic Prayers use both the terms “sacrifice” and “oblation.”  The sacrifice is the sacrifice of Jesus’ life.  We offer his sacrifice back to God our Father as an oblation.

What does Jesus’ Crucifixion have to do with the Eucharist?  Everything!  When Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, He said, this is my Body which will be given up for you…this is my Blood which will be poured out for you.  By these words, Jesus makes our celebration of the Eucharist and his Crucifixion one.  Never forget that.

What Does Lent Mean to You?

Lent starts tomorrow (February 14, 2024).  What comes to mind when you hear the word “Lent”? 

Do you have feelings of dread or joy?  Why?

Is Lent just something “necessary to get to Easter and the Resurrection”?  We all want to make it to Heaven.  Thus, we look forward to the joy of Easter and the Resurrection.  However, we may not feel the same way about Lent.  We may dread what comes with Lent.

The world says suffering is something to be avoided.  Lent points us to suffering.  Many today ask, “What’s in it for me?” while Lent points us to the sacrifice of Jesus.  Lent calls us to share in the sufferings and sacrifice of Jesus so that we may share in the joy of Easter and the Resurrection. 

Lent is 40 days.  Why?  This Sunday we will hear the story of the temptation of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Mark.  Jesus is tempted by Satan for 40 days.  Remembering that, we celebrate Lent for 40 days.

We fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  The first reading for Ash Wednesday says, “proclaim fast.”  Fasting is one way of sacrificing.  We fast to prepare ourselves for what we celebrate at Easter in Jesus’ suffering and Resurrection.  In Matthew 9:14-15, Jesus says the time will come when his disciples will fast.  Tomorrow we fast.

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, we also abstain from meat.  Fasting was not a new practice in Jesus’ days on earth.  I mentioned above the first reading for Ash Wednesday calls for fasting.  That reading is from the Book of Joel in the Old Testament.  Likewise, the practice of abstaining from meat can be found in the Old Testament in Daniel 10:2-3.  For us as Christians, our abstaining from meat recalls Jesus sacrificing his own flesh for us (see “Why Do Catholics Practice Fasting and Abstinence During Lent?”  Catholic Answers.  https://www.catholic.com/qa/why-do-catholics-practice-fasting-and-abstinence-during-lent.  Accessed 2/13/24).

When one thinks of Lent, the Stations of the Cross may come to mind.  It used to be that the Stations of the Cross were prayed together in parishes, most often on Friday evenings, and many people attended.  Now, the crowds are sparse, if the Stations of the Cross are even offered as a communal prayer.  Why are the Stations of the Cross a good practice for Lent?  When we participate with our hearts in the Stations, we are reflecting on the suffering that Jesus endured for us.  His suffering stands at the heart of Lent for us.

When one thinks of Lent, we may think of giving something up.  This should not be taken lightly for in what we give up, we are recalling that Jesus gave his life for us.  What are you willing to give up for Jesus?

Perhaps we give up something that takes time out of our day and give that time to Jesus.  Are you able to give up something to make the time to attend daily Mass at least once a week?  Are you able to make time to join in the Stations of the Cross?  How about Adoration?  If not, are you able to make some time to pray (more) at home each day? 

This can involve sacrifice.  In making the sacrifice, we unite ourselves to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.  Making the time to do this can also point us to conversion.  Conversion stands at the heart of Lent.  To see this we need to look no further than the first words of the first reading for Ash Wednesday for Lent, “Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God.

Lent is a time for us to return our hearts to the Lord.  How have we drifted away from the Lord since last Easter? 

Asking ourselves how we have drifted away from the Lord leads us to two more practices that are associated with Lent.  The first is our reception of ashes on Ash Wednesday.  In the Old Testament, when people repented (for example see chapter 3 of the Book of Jonah for how they “sat in ashes”), people put on ashes as a sign of their repentance.  (We can also see in Jonah 3 how they fasted in repentance.)  This points us to the confession of our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Do you have sins you need to confess?

So, Lent begins tomorrow.  What are you going to do to return your heart to Jesus?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Jesus had been healing many people.  In today’s gospel, “A leper came to Jesus.”  Given the number of people that were coming to Jesus one might think of the man with leprosy as one of many.  He knelt before Jesus and begged him “If you wish, you can make me clean.”  No surprise, right?

Well…, actually it would be a surprise.  In coming near Jesus, in coming near anyone, the man with leprosy is breaking the Levitical code found in our first reading.    It begins clearly, “If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch which appears to be the sore of leprosy,…the priest shall declare him unclean.” 

What was the significance of being declared unclean?

The reading continues, “The one who bears the sore of leprosy shall keep his garments rent and his head bare, and shall muffle his beard; he shall cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean!…He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp.

Why?  So that everyone would know that the person had leprosy and stay away from them.  This helped prevent the spread of leprosy. 

It is the same thing we do today when a person has a contagious disease.  We isolate them for the health of other people.  There is one difference today.  When one isolates today with a contagious disease, it is generally for no more than a few days.  For people with leprosy, it could be forever.  Even in the 19th century, we were still sending people with leprosy to colonies like Molokai where St. Damien of Molokia and St. Marianne Cope cared for them.

Imagine the isolation.  You could not see your family or friends.  I wonder which was worse, the physical effects of leprosy or the isolation?

Jesus was “moved with pity” for the man leprosy.  He “touched him.”  This would have been taboo.  Jesus would have been considered unclean for touching the man with leprosy.  Jesus then said, “I do will it.  Be made clean.

Jesus does not just “wish it” as the man had said.  He “wills” it.  Jesus is the Son of God.  When we wish for something, it may or may not happen.  When Jesus wills something, it happens by his very word.  The man is healed.  He is physically healed and is isolated no longer.  He can rejoin his family and friends!  The man went and told everyone what happened.  He shared what Jesus, Son of God, had done for him.  To God be the glory.

Writing to the Corinthains, Paul says, “Avoid giving offense…I try to please everyone.”  It should never be our goal to offend anyone.  In loving our neighbor, we should try to please others (see my recent article, “Making Others Happy”). 

While offending others should never be our goal, if we follow Jesus, at times we will likely offend those who don’t.  In touching the man with leprosy, Jesus would have offended those who held to a strict following of the Levitical code.  Jesus followed his Sacred Heart of perfect love.

The leprosy described in the Book of Leviticus is not a major health problem today.  However, there are still people who live in isolation.  Some may be medically isolated for their own protection so they do not contract more disease while others may be isolated to not spread a disease they have.  Today, the latter is generally temporary.  Even then, we can ask ourselves if there is a way we can be present to them, a phone or video call.  For those who are isolated to protect themselves, it might be a longer period of time, like a person taking chemotherapy.  How can you “be present” to them?  The disease is not the “sum total” of who they are.  Remember they are a person who needs to feel loved. 

What about a person who is not medically isolated but becomes functionally isolated?  Who am I talking about?  The homebound and those in nursing homes.  They may not be able to go out and visit others but there may be nothing that stops people from visiting them.  Do not let them feel forgotten.  Visit them (a corporal work of mercy) and share your love for them.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

The Hidden Depths of the Mass #27

The Eucharistic Prayer – Memorial Acclamation & Anamnesis

Following the words of Jesus that transubstantiate bread and wine into his Body and Blood, comes the Memorial Acclamation and Anamnesis.   At this point in the Mass, we recall the paschal mystery that includes the death, Resurrection, and ascension of Jesus into Heaven.

It is here that we need to realize that in celebrating the Eucharist at Mass, it is about much more than “just” Jesus feeding us with his Body and Blood.  The food that Jesus offers us in the Eucharist is nothing short of incredible.  Yet, there is more.  When we celebrate the Eucharist, we are celebrating everything Jesus suffers for us in his Passion and Crucifixion.  We are also celebrating his Resurrection to eternal life that we are offered.  As we include his Ascension, we know that He intercedes for us at his place at the right of the Father.

Making Others Happy

How much time do you spend trying to make other people happy?

Now, there are clearly some people that we should want to make happy.  Certainly, a married person should want their spouse to be happy.  We should want our family to be happy along with our friends.  In fact, in loving our neighbor as Jesus teaches as the second greatest commandment, we should want everyone to be happy.  Yet, our interest and our responsibility for their happiness is not the same for everyone.

In fact, we need to think about what it even means to be happy.

Happiness can be superficial.  It can focus on how one feels in the present moment with no thought of the bigger picture of our whole life.  As I mentioned in my homily this past Sunday, when we make physical pleasure our greatest priority, it is called “hedonism.”  In doing so, one puts their physical pleasure above everything else, their family, friends, job, and even God.

Thinking of a spouse, in our desire to make them happy, we might make their favorite meal for supper even if we don’t like that meal ourselves.  We might go to see a play because they want to even if we don’t care to.  Of course, this should work both ways, both spouses seeking the happiness of the other.

Thinking of the happiness of a stranger, we should perform corporal works of mercy to make sure they have the basic necessities of life.  Looking at life from the perspective of faith, we should also perform spiritual works of mercy to help others know that God loves them and to share the truth of the gospel with them.

Ensuring the happiness of others does not mean we should be miserable all the time ourselves.  It doesn’t mean keeping silent when we differ in what we believe.  It doesn’t mean being something other than ourselves, other than what God calls us to be. 

Let me try to provide an example from the local community where I live.  The Watkins Glen area is visited by many tourists each year.  The tourists come for two reasons, the natural beauty of the area and auto racing. 

Auto racing started here on local roads in the late 1940’s.  Then a racetrack was built.  In the past there have been Formula One races and IndyCar races here.  Presently, the track hosts IMSA, NASCAR, and vintage races.  The races and vintage events draw many people.  The hotels and restaurants can be very busy.  A lot of money is brought into the local community.  The race fans are happy and owners of the hotels and restaurants are happy.  Of course, we have to deal with traffic and the crowds for a few days but overhaul most are happy.  There would seem to be nothing wrong with this.

How far do we go in making the race fans happy?  There needs to be balance.  Last year they created a new event commemorating the idea for the first Corvette.  This closed some streets.  I’m sure it drew some people to the area.  Did it keep some other tourists away?

There I turn to the natural beauty of the area (you can’t top what God has made).  People literally come by the bus load to see the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park.  Many people come by car (I know because I live across the street from the parking lot for the state park.  On Sundays in the summer, the lot and the street parking are full!). 

Other people come to enjoy the natural beauty of Seneca Lake.  We also have over 9,000 acres of state forest land with trails at Sugar Hill.  There is also a national forest with over 16,000 acres of forest land with trails surrounding Burnt Hill in Hector.

People come for various reasons.  We should do what we can to make their visit wonderful but we must always be aware of what we give up.  For instance, I love the tranquility in nature that one can find here.  We must never give up the tranquility to make more money in tourism.  For those who come for the tranquility, this would be counterproductive.

You may be wondering what I have written so far today has to do with faith.  Where I would like to go with this is to discuss what happiness is.  I would like to distinguish between happiness in the moment and the joy and peace that God offers us.  The eternal joy that God offers transcends earthly happiness that is temporary.

For example, taking a walk through the gorge or through the government forestlands or even just a relaxing drive through the countryside can bring a person happiness for that day.  For me, from the happiness of the moment, I see the beauty of God and find peace and joy that lasts as long as I follow God. 

Last Sunday, we heard a reading from Job.  Prior to this passage Job had enjoyed earthly wealth with land and livestock.  He had a great family.  He had good health, that is, until the devil took it away.  Then Job lamented.  He was not happy.  He didn’t understand but he still believed in God (You can’t lament to God without believing in him).  His faith transcended his possessions and physical health.

Which would you rather have?  Earthly happiness that is temporary, maybe lasting no longer than the immediate experience that brings happiness or joy and peace that comes with faith in God?

While “happiness” and “joy” are listed as synonyms for each other, I use the words differently.  I use happiness for the earthly pleasure that lasts a finite amount of time.  I use “joy” to signify what God offers us and lasts for eternity.  When we see the distinction, our priorities can change.

Here I turn to the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12a.  Most translations today use the word “blessed” to describe what God offers us.  If you look at enough different translations, you can find some that use the word “happy” rather than “blessed.”  This saddens me because I think it misses the mark on what Jesus is pointing us to in the Beatitudes. 

Happiness does not necessarily involve faith.  On a sunny 90-degree day in the summer, an ice cream cone can make you happy.  The ice cream cone does not make you “blessed.”  In the Beatitudes, we see how God blesses us when we seek to live according to his truth and his will.  The Beatitudes are not just a list of nice ideas.  God’s commandments are not just rules to follow.  When we embrace the truth found in God’s commandments and the way of life found in God’s commandments and the Beatitudes, we find a way of life that brings us joy and peace that will last forever.  (See my presentation Are They Rules or a Way of Life and/or my article God’s Commandments)

We should be concerned about the happiness of others, but not simply temporary happiness.  We should be concerned about offering them God’s eternal joy.  When they disagree with what Jesus teaches us, our silence about God may make them happy for a moment in this world but it cannot and will not bring them the eternal joy and peace that God offers us.  If we love them, we need to help them set aside the lies of this world and the devil to focus on the Truth that Jesus offers us, the truth that will set us free (see John 8:32).

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily
Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 (3a)
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-3
Mark 1:29-39

Job spoke saying:  Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?…I shall not see happiness again.”

These are the words that begin and end today’s first reading.  Job is experiencing a terrible time in his life.  He had been a rich man with much livestock and wealth.  He had a great family.  He had good health.  That is, until the devil took it away from him.  The devil wanted to prove that Job’s faith was superficial.  He thought that Job only praised the Lord because of the riches and family he had.

Job had much to praise the Lord for but when it was taken away, he lamented.  His lamenting was understandable but his faith did not end.  He continued to have faith in God.

What sufferings do you face?  Does it bring you unhappiness?  Does your life seem like a drudgery?

In today’s world suffering is seen as something to be avoided.  We seek relief like the “slave who longs for the shade.”  Perhaps we are like the “hireling who waits for his wages.”  We just want our wages so we can go and enjoy life.

Do you seek earthly pleasure as your greatest joy?  Does your quest for pleasure stop you from accepting suffering for the glory of God?  When physical pleasure is one’s guiding force in life, we call it “hedonism.”

Do you need to reorient your priorities?  Lent begins in 10 days.  Now might be the perfect time to make some changes in your life.

In our first reading, we hear lamenting.  In turn, our responsorial psalm praises God.  “The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem.”  Worldly ways had led to the destruction of Jerusalem.  The Lord rebuilt it.  What do you need the Lord to rebuild in your life?  As Lent begins next week, what do you need to do to let the Lord rebuild your life?

The Lord “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  What is broken in your heart that needs healing from the Lord?  What wounds do you that you need to hand over to the Lord as we begin Lent next week?

The psalm also speaks of how the Lord sustains the lowly.  What sufferings do you face in your life?  In what way do you need the Lord to help sustain you through your sufferings?

When Simon’s mother-in-law laid ill with a fever, they told Jesus about her.  They handed her over to Jesus in prayer.  And Jesus took care of her.

In this case, she was healed.  Job was not immediately healed when he lamented his drudgery to the Lord.  What the Lord did for Job was to walk with him, at times even carrying him through his suffering.

Are you willing to accept your sufferings for the glory of our Lord?

They brought all “who were ill or possessed” to him and He took care of them.  The Lord will not abandon us.  He walks with us.

After healing those brought to him that day, what did Jesus do?  He “went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” 

Jesus is the Son of God.  If He took the time to pray, all the more do we need to take the time to pray.  He went off to pray often.  We need to pray often.  Is the Lord calling you to more time in prayer this Lent?  It might be more prayer at home.  Or perhaps the Lord is inviting you to attend Mass more regularly?  If you already attend Sundays regularly, how about daily Mass or Adoration?

When the people found Jesus again, He said He must go on to the nearby towns so that He could fulfill the purpose He came for, to preach.  In order for his preaching to change the world, someone had to be listening. 

When you pray, do you do all the talking?  If so, then don’t blame Jesus for how things turn out.  If you want life to be better, then you need to listen to Jesus when you pray.

I will end by asking you again, what do you need to change in your life.

The Hidden Depths of the Mass #26

The Eucharistic Prayer – The Institution Narrative cont’d

Last week we discussed the Institution Narrative where Jesus instituted the Eucharist as he said, ‘this is my Body…this is my Blood.”  We believe in the Real Presence because Jesus says so. 

When Jesus was in the boat on the stormy sea (Mark 4:35-41), He said to the sea, “Quiet, be still!” and it was still.  We believe this is true.  Likewise, we believe what we read in John 11:43-44.  Lazarus had been dead in the tomb for four days but when Jesus said, “Lazarus, come out!,” what Jesus commanded was fulfilled.  In the same way, we trust Jesus’ words when He says the bread and wine become his Body and Blood.