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Monsignor Yennock's Holy Thursday Homily 2019

Apr 22, 2019

HOLY THURSDAY APRIL 18, 2019

IT IS THE MASS THAT MATTERS IN 2019

ON MONDAY APRIL 15, PEOPLE OF FAITH AND NO FAITH, ALL OVER THE WORLD, WERE SHOCKED AND SADDENED AS THEY WATCHED THE CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE DAME OF PARIS IN FLAMES. YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE WERE WEEPING AND PRAYING.

THE CATHEDRAL IS ALMOST 800 YEARS OLD. THE GREAT ORGAN IS THE LARGEST ORGAN IN FRANCE AND PROBABLY THE MOST FAMOUS ORGAN IN THE WORLD THAT DATES FROM 1401.

13 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL EVERY YEAR, AN AVERAGE OF 30,000 PEOPLE EVERY DAY.

A LARGE PORTION OF THE STRUCTURE IS SALVAGEABLE. THE MAGNIFICENT WINDOWS HAVE BEEN SAVED, ALONG WITH MANY OF THE MOST FAMOUS RELICS AND WORKS OF ART. SO FAR ALMOST ONE BILLION DOLLARS HAS BEEN PLEDGED TO RESTORE THE ANCIENT CATHEDRAL A SYMBOL OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION..

WE MARVEL AT THE GREAT CATHEDRALS ALL OVER THE WORLD. THEY ARE A LIVING EXPRESSION OF THE DEEP FAITH AND REVERENCE THAT PEOPLE HAD FOR THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.

 

THE SKILLS OF ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS, CRAFTSMAN, ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS CAME TOGETHER TO PRODUCE AN EDIFICE WORTHY OF THE GRANDEUR OF GOD.

 

GREAT CATHEDRALS WERE BUILT AROUND THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE AND THE TABERNACLE OF THE LIVING GOD. THE GENIUS OF ENGINEERING, THE BEAUTY OF ARCHITECTURE, THE FINE ARTS AND MUSIC WERE USED TO CREATE A FITTING BACKGROUND FOR THE WONDER OF THE MASS.

 

JESUS THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST OFFERED THE FIRST MASS ON HOLY THURSDAY NIGHT NOT IN A GRAND CATHEDRAL BUT IN THE UPPER ROOM IN JERUSALEM.

 

 

  1. PAUL SAYS: “AFTER CELEBRATING THE PASSOVER OF THE LAMB, JESUS “TOOK BREAD, AND AFTER HE HAD GIVEN THANKS, BROKE IT AND SAID, ‘THIS IS MY BODY THAT IS FOR YOU. DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.’ IN THE SAME WAY ALSO THE CUP, AFTER SUPPER, SAYING, ‘THIS CUP IS THE NEW COVENANT IN MY BLOOD. DO THIS AS OFTEN AS YOU DRINK IT, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.?’ FOR AS OFTEN AS YOU EAT THIS BREAD AND DRINK THE CUP, YOU PROCLAIM THE DEATH OF THE LORD UNTIL HE COMES. “
  2. PAUL WAS PROCLAIMING JESUS AS THE NEW PASSOVER LAMB. HOLY THURSDAY IS THE PASSOVER OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST THAT SAVES ALL PEOPLE, JEW AND GENTILE ALIKE.

LIKE ABEL HE WAS MURDEREED. LIKE ISAAC HE WAS BOUND WITH ROPES AND LED UP A HILL. LIKE JACOB HE WAS EXILED. LIKE JOSEPH HE WAS SOLD FOR A FEW PIECES OF SILVER. LIKE MOSES HE WAS THREATENED WITH DEATH. LIKE THE PROPHETS HE WAS DISHONORED AND PERSECUTED. LIKE THE PASSOVER LAMB HE WAS SLAUGHTERED. AS THE LAMB OF GOD HE WAS SIEZED FROM THE FLOCK, DRAGGED OFF TO BE SACRIFICED IN THE EVENING AND BURIED AT NIGHT.

THE CONTINUING PASSOVER SACRIFICE OF THE MASS IS THE ONLY PERFECT SACRIFICE OFFERED IN THE WORLD TODAY. IT IS A PERFECT SACRIFICE BECAUSE IT IS OFFERED BY JESUS THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST. THROUGH THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS THE HIGH PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST WAS HANDED DOWN TO ORDINARY MEN SO THAT THE SACRIFICE COULD CONTINUED.

EVERY TIME A PRIEST GOES TO THE ALTAR HE OFFERS THE SAME SACRIFICE THAT JESUS BEGAN AT THE LAST SUPPER AND COMPLETED ON THE CROSS OF CALVARY.

THANKS TO THE MASS, THE CHRISTIANS OF ALL AGES AND ALL NATIONS ARE ABLE TO GATHER AROUND THE ALTAR OF THE CROSS. THE BLOOD OF CHRIST IS THE BLOOD OF THE NEW LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD. THE BLOOD OF CHRIST IS THE BLOOD OF THE NEW PASSOVER.

FROM THE TIME THAT THE EARLY CHRISTIANS OFFERED THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS IN THE CATACOMBS, THE MASS HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED THE MOST PERFECT FORM OF WORSHIP THAT A HUMAN BEING CAN OFFER TO GOD. A CHURCH HISTORIAN SUMMED UP THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH BY SAYING: “IT IS THE MASS THAT MATTERS.”

THE MASS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE UNITY OF CHRISTIANS AROUND THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE. THE DYNAMO THAT INSPIRED THE LIVES OF GREAT MEN AND WOMEN THROUGH HISTORY IS THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.

IN THE EARLY DAYS, THE TOGA-CLAD CHRISTIANS OF ROME CUT UNDERGROUND ALTARS AND CHAPELS IN THE SOFT TUFA STONE UNDERNEATH THE PAGAN CITY TO GET TO SUNDAY MASS. THEY WERE SEEN RUNNING THROUGH ROME EARLY IN THE MORNING OR LATE AT NIGHT TO BE NEAR CHRIST IN THE MASS. WHEN THEY WERE DISCOVERED AND CONDEMNED TO DIE WE SEE THEM GOING JOYFULLY TO THEIR DEATH IN THE ARENA. THEY WERE SINGING HYMNS ON THEIR WAY TO DIE FOR THE MASS.

HISTORY PRESENTS A BLOOD-STAINED RECORD OF COUNTLESS SUFFERINGS AND DANGERS BRAVED BY CATHOLICS FOR THE MASS. THAT RECORD WOULD MAKE A GLORIOUS AND FASCINATING DRAMA.

THERE WOULD BE THE PICTURE OF A CRIPPLED FRENCH PEASANT WHO LIVED THREE MILES FROM THE CHURCH AND ROSE IN THE NIGHT AT ONE O’CLOCK TO DRAG HIMSELF INCH BY INCH TO MORNING MASS.

THERE WOULD BE THE HEDGE PRIESTS OF IRELAND BRAVING EVERY DANGER TO SAY MASS FOR THEIR PEOPLE IN A TIME OF PERSECUTION.

WE WOULD SEE THE ENGLISH CATHOLICS IN THE TIME OF ELIZABETH HUDDLED TOGETHER IN A LITTLE ROOM, EXPECTING AT ANY TIME A KNOCK AT THE DOOR; A SIGNAL THAT MEANT SOLDIERS, TRIAL, IMPRISONMENT AND MARTYRDOM. YET THEY FOLLOWED INTENTLY THE QUICKLY WHISPERED MASS OF A HUNTED PRIEST.

THAT DRAMA WOULD PORTRAY LITTLE GROUPS OF NUNS IN MEXICO WITHOUT CONVENTS OR RELIGIOUS HABITS. WE WOULD SEE THEM HURRY HOME FROM SECRET CATECHISM CLASSES TO VISIT THE BLESSED SACRAMENT CONCEALED IN A CLOSET OR A BUREAU DRAWER.

WE WOULD SEE THE FRENCH PRIEST FATHER PERRIN WHO DISGUISED HIMSELF AS A COMMON LABORER AND WORKED IN GERMANY TO BE NEAR HIS COUNTRYMEN TO BRING THEM THE MASS AND THE SACRAMENTS. THIS ZEALOUS PRIEST, EVEN AFTER HE WAS DISCOVERED AND THROWN INTO PRISON MANAGED TO SMUGGLE BREAD AND WINE INTO HIS CELL AND THERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT ON A PRISON FLOOR CELEBRATE MASS FOR 30 OR 4O CONDEMNED SOULS.

THERE WOULD ALSO BE THE BRAVE PRIESTS IN RUSSIA AND IN POLAND SAYING MASS IN BARNS OR FARMHOUSES OR HOTEL ROOMS, ALWAYS AT THE RISK OF THE FIRING SQUAD AND ALWAYS WITH THE SUPREME CONVICTION IT IS THE MASS THAT MATTERS.

THE ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH TRY IN EVERY WAY TO EXTINGUISH THE MASS. THEY HAVE ALWAYS RECOGNIZED THAT WHAT MATTERS MOST TO CATHOLICS IS CHRIST IN THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. 

THE ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH KNOW FULL WELL THAT WITHOUT THE BISHOP THERE WOULD BE NO PRIESTS. WITHOUT THE PRIEST THERE WOULD BE NO MASS SO THEY CLOSE SEMINARIES, KILL PRIESTS, AND CONFINE BISHOPS IN PRISON. THEY  BURN CHURCHES, AND DESECRATE ALTARS AND SACRED VESSELS.

GREAT COURAGE IS STILL NEEDED IN OUR OWN TIMES AND IT WILL BE NEEDED TO THE END TO WITHSTAND THE ENEMIES OF GOD.

THE PRESENT ATTACK ON CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND IN CHINA MAY OR MAY NOT BEFALL CHRISTIANS IN THE UNITED STATES AT SOME FUTURE TIME.

IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE REALLY, BECAUSE IT IS JUST AS DIFFICULT TO LIVE FOR CHRIST AS IT IS TO DIE FOR HIM.

WHERE WILL WE GET THE COURAGE, THE STRENGTH, THE HEROIC VIRTUE THAT WE NEED? WE WILL GET IT BY STANDING AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS—ALLOWING THE BLOOD OF CHRIST TO FLOW THROUGH OUR VEINS—THIS HAPPENS EVERY TIME WE ARE PRESENT AT MASS AND RECEIVE THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.

A LONG TIME AGO THE BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF SYRACUSE SENT A PRIEST TO THIS AREA OF LYNCOURT AND ASKED HIM TO BUILD A CHURCH. WHEN THE PRIEST AND THE PEOPLE OF THIS PARISH BEGAN TO BUILD THIS BEAUTIFUL STRUCTURE THAT WE CALL ST. DANIEL CHURCH, THEY HAD ONE THOUGHT IN MIND—TO PROVIDE A SPLENDID TEMPLE WHERE A PRIEST EVERY MORNING WOULD ASCEND TO THE ALTAR OF THE NEW PASSOVER AND WHISPER THOSE MIRACULOUS WORDS: “THIS IS MY BODY, THIS IS MY BLOOD”.

THE MASS IS OUR GREATEST HERITAGE.  NO PREACHER, NO HOMILY, NO MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA, NO GRAND CATHEDRAL CAN SUPPPLANT THE POWER OF THE MASS. WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE IT IS TRULY THE MASS THAT MATTERS. TWENTY CENTURIES HAVE PROVEN IT TO BE SO.

SOME DAY THE PEOPLE OF PARIS AND THE WORLD WILL GATHER IN THE CATHEDRAL OF NOTRE DAME TO OFFER THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS BECAUSE IT IS THE MASS THAT MATTERS.