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Monsignor Yennock's Homily June 3, 2018 - Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Jun 11, 2018

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.

JUNE 3, 2018

ALBERT EINSTEIN WHO USHERED IN THE NUCLEAR AGE SAID THIS: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING WE CAN EXPERIENCE IS THE MYSTERIOUS. IT IS THE SOURCE OF ALL TRUE ART AND SCIENCE. HE WHO IS A STRANGER TOTHIS EMOTION, HE WHO CAN NO LONGER PAUSE TO WONDER AND STAND IN AWE IS AS GOOD AS DEAD. HIS EYES ARE CLOSED.

WHEN WE OPEN OUR EYES AND TURN BACK THE CURTAIN OF THE UNIVERSE WE STAND IN AWE AND WONDER AT THE MYSTERY OF GOD. MORTIMER ADLER THE JEWISH CONVERT TO CATHOLICISM AND FOUNDER OF THE GREAT BOOKS FOUNDATION, SAYS THAT MYSTERY AND MAJESTY IS GOD HIMSELF.

 

A FEW YEARS AGO IN A LETTER ON THE EUCHARIST POPE JOHN PAUL II SPOKE OF THE CHURCH OF THE EUCHARIST. HE SPOKE OF THE AMAZEMENT THAT SHOULD FILL THE CHURCH ASSEMBLY WHENEVER WE CELEBRATE THE EUCHARIST.

AMAZEMENT IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD IS THE BEGINNING OF OUR COMMITMENT TO LIVE ONLY FOR HIM. 

REMEMBER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WHEN MOSES SAW THE BURNING BUSH THAT WAS NOT CONSUMED? REMEMBER WHEN HE REALIZED THAT GOD WAS PRESENT IN THAT BURNING BUSH? HE WAS OVERWHELMED WITH THE POWER OF GOD’S PRESENCE. HE NEVER GOT OVER IT.

PETER JAMES AND JOHN WERE AMAZED ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION WHEN THEY CAUGHT A GLIMPSE OF DIVINE PRESENCE.

THE APOSTLES WERE AMAZED WHEN THEY SAW THE RISEN JESUS ON EASTER SUNDAY NIGHT. THAT’S WHEN THEY REALIZED GOD WAS PRESENT WITH THEM.

WHEN JESUS SAID TO THE DISCIPLES: “I AM THE BREAD THAT COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN”, THEY WERE DUMBSTRUCK. THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. WHEN THEY FOUND THEIR VOICE THEY SAID: “YOU ALONE HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE”.

AT THE LAST SUPPER HE SAID TO THEM: “THIS IS MY BODY, THIS IS MY BLOOD; DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME”. THE APOSTLES DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY AT THAT TIME EITHER. THESE WERE THE FIRST PRIESTS AND THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. THEY WERE SO OVERWHELMED BY THE PROMISE OF DIVINE PRESENCE. 

BUT AT THAT MOMENT THEY BEGAN TO REALIZE WHAT HE MEANT WHEN HE SAID “I AM THE LIVING BREAD THAT COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN”. THEY KNEW THEN THAT AS PRIESTS THEY WERE GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN HIS COMING DOWN FROM HEAVEN. NO WONDER THAT THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY.

THERE IS AN INTERESTING BOOK OUT OF WORLD WAR II CALLED BATTLEFIELD CHAPLAINS. IT TELLS ABOUT THE HEROIC PRIESTS WHO SERVED AS CHAPLAINS IN WORLD WAR II. ONE OF THE CHAPLAINS, A FATHER JOHN MALONEY, MINISTERED TO PARATROOPERS. HE JUMPED OUT OF AIRPLANES TO BE WITH THE MEN AS THEY LANDED ON THE GROUND IN NORMANDY. AS SOON AS THEY LANDED, HE WAS THERE CRAWLING FROM ONE TO ANOTHER, HEARING CONFESSIONS, TAKING LAST MINUTE MESSAGES TO THEIR FAMILIES. MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL HE BROUGHT TO THESE MEN ON THE BATTLEFIELD THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST. HE BROUGHT THEM THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE MEN CALLED THIS CHAPLAIN—THEY SAID: HE IS OUR BREAD FROM HEAVEN. THAT’S A PRETTY GOOD DEFINITION OF A PRIEST—THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN.   

TODAY WE HAVE ALMOST 400 PRIESTS FROM THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING WITH THE ARMED FORCES AS CHAPLAINS. THEY BRING TO THE SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN THE SACRAMENTS OF RECONCILIATION AND HOLY COMMUNION AND SOMETIMES THE SACRAMENT OF THE SICK WHEN THEY ARE IN DANGER OF DEATH.

WORLDWIDE WE HAVE OVER 400,000 PRIESTS MINISTERING TO OVER A BILLION PEOPLE.

THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT JESUS IS THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST. THROUGH THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS JESUS SENDS HIS PRIESTS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO BRING THE BREAD FROM HEAVEN TO HIS PEOPLE ON EARTH. THE PRIEST IS GOD’S WAY OF BRINGING NEW LIFE TO AN OLD WORLD.

CARDINAL SUHARD A FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF PARIS SAID: A PRIESTLESS SOCIETY IS A DEAD SOCIETY. WITHOUT THE PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS CHRIST THERE WOULD BE NO CLEAR AND VISIBLE CHANNEL TO THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN THIS WORLD.  THE PRIEST GIVES SOCIETY A NEW LEASE ON LIFE.

THE VATICAN COUNCIL CALLED THE PRIEST THE SACRAMENT OF GOD. HE SPEAKS GOD’S WORD TO A WORLD THAT NEEDS GOD MORE THAN IT KNOWS. 

WHAT DO PEOPLE SEE WHEN THEY LOOK AT THE PRIEST? THEY SEE JESUS RAISING PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD IN THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION. THEY SEE THE CRUCIFIED JESUS STILL OFFERING HIMSELF IN THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS—STILL FEEDING THEM WITH HIS BODY AND BLOOD IN THE EUCHARIST. THEY SEE THE RISEN JESUS STILL LIVING AND PREACHING THE COMMANDMENTS—THE BEATITUDES—THE SPRITUAL AND CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY.

THE PRIEST IS A MYSTERY TO MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE HE BELONGS TO TWO WORLDS—THE MATERIAL WORLD AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. HE EMBRACES CELIBACY TO WITNESS TO PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THAT IN CHRIST HE HAS FOUND THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. HE MAKES A PROMISE OF OBEDIENCE TO HIS BISHOP TO WITNESS THAT HE WANTS TO DO THE WILL OF GOD IN ALL THINGS.

IN TODAY’S GOSPEL, WHEN THE DISCIPLES TELL JESUS THAT THE PEOPLE HAVE NO FOOD HE SAYS TO THEM: “GIVE THEM SOME FOOD YOURSELVES”. THE WORLD IS HUNGRY FOR SPIRITUAL FOOD. THE WORLD IS STARVED FOR THE REAL PRESENCE OF GOD. WE NEED PRIESTS TO FEED A WORLD THAT IS SPIRITUALLY HUNGRY.

THAT IS WHY THERE IS GREAT JOY IN THE CHURCH WHEN A NEW PRIEST IS ORDAINED.

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