To encounter Christ and to be encountered by Christ. Encounter – that is what the Mass is about.
I have been in awe today praying and thinking about the Mass, about Holy Eucharist. Honestly, I am not always in awe. Sometimes I am far from the focus and attention I want to have. But not now, not today.
I’ve got to share this from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is paragraph 1324:
“The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.’”
Why do I keep talking about M.A.S.S.? Because above all here we encounter Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity and we are encountered by him.
The Eucharist is not about us, but about Jesus. Yet it IS totally about us, for us.
The Eucharist is gift, gift of self, Jesus’ total self for us.
Eucharist is totally about Jesus’ love for us. It is here that we encounter this gift of his very self. “Take,” he says, “this IS my body; this IS my blood.”
At Holy Communion we not only encounter Jesus by receiving his Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, but we are also encountered by him, his entering into us, his taking over our entire being, uniting himself with us.
Oh, I know that most of the time we probably don’t think of this or are caught up in some moment of ecstasy, but that’s what happens whether we realize it or not. Jesus encounters us and wants us to be overwhelmed, consumed by who we consume.
Let me repeat that: Jesus encounters us and wants us to be overwhelmed, consumed by who we consume.
The teaching of the Church helps us to realize that all the good we do, all the ministries that we become involved in start here and return here to be offered in gratitude.
Today, on this solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, recognizing that the Eucharist is both source and summit of the Christian life, we decided to focus on the renewal of our stewardship of talent, the participation in the work of Jesus Christ in and through ministry.
I invite (5:00 Vigil – Dn. John Bergford; 10:00 Kimberly Flowers; 5:00 Life Teen Marisa Schroff) to share with us how they encounter Christ and are encountered by him in their particular ministries. Welcome.
After Jesus invited them to take, eat and drink, he said, “Do this in memory of me.” This is his command to us in order for us to be alive in him and he in us. This is what fuels any involvement in ministry and good work.
Like Jesus, I too invite you to participate in some ministry or ministries in the parish so that you may encounter Christ in them and be encountered by Christ through them.
Our first reading comes from the 24th chapter of Exodus. Moses reminds his people of where they came from, slavery in Egypt, and where they are going, freedom as God’s chosen people. Moses is inviting them to ratify this covenant relationship that God has entered into with them.
Moses does so through a ritual liturgical action. Pouring blood on the altar that represents God’s presence among them, Moses then sprinkles the blood of the sacrificed animals on the people. Though this may seem gross to us today, blood symbolized life. This sprinkling represented the people’s sharing in the very life of God. The covenant was sealed with this blood.
The Letter to the Hebrews is an extended sermon that describes God’s action in the world. Its guiding theme is that all the good God has done for Israel is SURPASSED and FULFILLED in Jesus Christ.
This reading describes Christ as the ultimate high priest who offers the eternally efficacious sacrifice. Unlike the high priest who offers sacrifice once a year for the atonement of the people’s sins, Jesus, the new and eternal high priest, offers himself, sheds his own blood and becomes the mediator of the new and eternal covenant that reconciles us to God and to one another.
That is why at every Mass at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer we pray: “Through him, and with him and in him…”