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Who Do You Say That I am? – Holy Hour Homily

Homily for May 2019 Holy Hour
Isaiah 42:1-4
Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 16:13-20

Why do I like to come to Holy Hour?  One might simply think I do it as part of my job.  I don’t.  I want to be here.   

Why?  Because my soul is thirsting for Jesus.  There is a place in my life that only Jesus can fill.  We are created to know Jesus and nothing else can fill us.

What is it about Jesus that draws us to him?

Another way of approaching this question is to look at what Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  Who is Jesus to you?

The disciples responded by listing names of famous biblical characters.  These are all prophets who are dead.  Well, except for Elijah as he was taken up to Heaven without dying.  There were prophecies about the return of Elijah so it might have been natural for the people to wonder if Jesus could be Elijah returning.

For Jeremiah and John the Baptist, one might suppose they wonder if Jesus could be them because they are coming to realize that Jesus is indeed sent by God and so they equate him to them as a great prophet.

Then, Jesus asks them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Of course, Peter is the one to answer.  He gives a different type of answer.  Instead of listing names of famous biblical characters, he responds, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Peter had come to realize that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.  He is right.

Jesus is the one who fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah.  Jesus is the “chosen one.”  He is the one who “will not cry out, nor shout.”  He comes to bring us truth but He does not force it on us.

I say Jesus “comes”.  Where does He come from?  Paul helps to know the answer to this question in his letter to the Philippians.  He tells us that Jesus “was in the form of God.”  He was with God, consubstantial with the Father.  Jesus had nothing to gain for himself by becoming human.  Yet He chose to empty himself, becoming human like us becoming “obedient to death, even death of a cross.

Jesus came down from Heaven not for himself.  He did this for us because He loves us.

None of this should be anything new to us.  You are all familiar with Jesus.  We might not feel worthy of his love but we know Jesus does love us. 

What does this have to do with what I initially said about being here?  I said I come to holy hour because my soul is thirsting for Jesus.

We are in God’s house.  God is present here.  The building and its contents are designed to get us to think about God.  We have the stained glass window behind me as well as the Processional Cross to remind us that Jesus dies for our sins.

We have the Stations of the Cross on the walls to remind us what Jesus went through for us. 

We have statues of Mary as model disciple, Joseph as a righteousness man, and St. Michael as our defense against Satan to remind us that we are not alone. 

There are various images in the other stained glass windows to remind us of other elements of our faith.

Tonight, tonight we are here for one specific thing.  Jesus is present in an extra special way tonight.  We see him on our altar.  We see him in the monstrance.  The monstrance is shaped like rays of light emanating from the center.  At the center is bread, but not ordinary bread.  It is the Bread of Life!  It was ordinary bread that has become the Body of Christ.  It is Jesus for whom our soul thirsts.

To end, I turn to the second stanza of tonight’s responsorial psalm, “Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary.”  Now, let us take time, each in our own way, to gaze on Jesus in Blessed Sacrament.

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