August 22, 2021
Jesus asks us the same question as He asked His disciples. He is revealing a Mystery which is hard to believe, yet has the power to transform our world: His Sacrifice is made present when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered.
- Jesus leaves us free, doesn’t try to force us or manipulate us into making the decision to believe in the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist.
- There is only one solution to today’s problems and that is believing in Jesus that saves. By His sacrifice, he taught us how He spent His whole life doing one thing – saving.
- By His Word we know that the bread and wine are changed to become truly His body, blood, soul and divinity. This is called transubstantiation.
- The Catechism states clearly that when Mass is celebrated, it makes present the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary.
- The Protestant reformers accepted that the Mass could be the celebration of the Last Supper, but they rejected that it was His sacrifice made present.
- Our faith is what plugs us into the power of Jesus’ sacrifice and permits that power to flow. It’s in the measure of our faith, of our trust in Him, that we can receive His grace.
Our world has many great problems. The practical solution, the one practical solution is Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, He is the only Savior. The second point is that His sacrifice is made present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And the third point is, that’s not enough for us to receive those, we need to have faith.
Jesus asks you, “will you also go away?” He’s asking you to believe and especially have faith in these painful dark times that we’re living.
“Will you also go away?” Will you also go away? This Gospel is a critical moment in the mission of Jesus because He’s just finished giving this teaching. The enthusiastic crowd who had just seen in the day before, work the great miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes, that 1000s have experienced. So, this enthusiast crowd, after He finished His preaching, most of them have rejected what He said. And not only that, but most of His, but even many of His disciples, those who had already chosen to be His disciples, many of them after listening to Him, leave. So, this is a critical moment. What was so hard that after Jesus tries to present it, most of those even His disciples rejected? And that’s the question we’re going to be looking at today. It’s because this question is also addressed to you, do you also want to go away? It is, each one of us has to make a decision. And Jesus leaves us free, He doesn’t try to force us, He doesn’t try to manipulate us, He leaves each one of us free. Each one of us has to make a decision. And this is a hard decision. What He’s asking is very hard. It’s hard to believe. And it concerns what we’re doing right now. The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist, the Mass seems so boring, right? Especially at the Mission of Divine Mercy, and especially in the hot weather. And the Mass seems to not have anything to do with the real problems that people are facing. It’s all sorts of urgent problems in our world and in our own lives. And the Mass seems to many people, not have anything to do with that. How we know many, many who were Baptized Catholics, who are no longer Catholics, right, who have joined maybe a Protestant church, or maybe some other religion, or just no religion. There’s millions of them just in our country. And of those who are Catholic, most of them, the great majority of them don’t, go to Mass most Sundays, the great majority, and of those who do go to Mass, most of them have no idea what the Mass really is. Even if most Catholics who go to Mass, we’re going to be talking about that. So, this is a crisis, a huge crisis. This is a disaster. Our Church is experiencing a disastrous crisis. And the sign is that most Catholics don’t know what this Mass, that we’re called to celebrate each Sunday is. And that’s why it seems to have nothing to do with what’s really going on in the world. So today, this is the last of this, we’ve been looking at this John Chapter Six, Jesus’ teaching on the word of the Bread of Life. We’ve been doing this for, it’s been now several weeks, so I’ll just be summarizing some of what we saw. So, if you want to, if you didn’t hear that, you could go back and listen to those because today, we want to try to put these pieces together, that we’ve been looking at. So, it begins with a problem that people don’t have. There’s not enough food to feed this multitude. But that problem can represent all the hungers, the much deeper hungers that we’re experiencing today, the hunger for justice, the hunger for peace in our world, in our lives. The hunger for truth, the hunger for beauty, the hunger for love, the hunger for joy, the hunger, even if we don’t know it, the greatest hunger, the hunger for God, and all the suffering that comes from the lack of God’s presence in our world. And so, that problem represents all the problems in our world today. And all of us know that there’s a lot of big problems. We experienced close to us whether it’s economic or financial or financial health problems, family problems, personal problems, spiritual problems. Right now, we have the terrible situation in Afghanistan with all sorts of things, there’s the COVID situation, all that’s going on. And we often feel helpless, right? That the situation is so big and so bad, that we feel helpless, what can we do? And so, Jesus is giving us something practical, practical, that can help. And so, we’ll look at three key steps. And the first step facing all these needs and problems, the first key step is to recognize that there is a solution. But there is only one solution. So, it’s important to know what that solution is. I saw a motivational video not long ago. And in the video, the guy in the video said you have to believe in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. But you have to believe in something. Jesus doesn’t say, you have to believe in your gut, your destiny, your life, karma, whatever. None of those save, believe in none of those saves. It’s only one belief that says there’s only one who is our Savior, and that only Jesus Christ, as Saint Peter says, “There is salvation in no one else, there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved.” So, it’s not believing in anything. It’s only believing in Jesus, that saves. And no one is more realistic than Jesus. Jesus is not some guy with his head in the clouds. No one is more realistic. No one is more practical than Jesus. He was a carpenter in as humanity, He knows the truth, no one is more practical than Him. And He dedicated His whole life to one thing, to saving. And so how does He save? It’s not first of all, by His teaching, is not first of all, by His great, powerful miracles. It’s above all, by His sacrifice. The second reading today, called husbands to look at Jesus as an example of how they should love their wives. And it says that Jesus gave Himself, sacrificed Himself, for His bride, the Church. And so the veiled meaning in the Gospel, that we’re looking at John six, that Jesus has been teaching, When He’s speaking of His, as His flesh, and as blood is that the beginning of His sacrifice, that the sacrifice that they don’t know it yet, but the sacrifice that He is going to make up Himself, the sacrifice that He is going, the gift He is going to give of Himself, for His bride, the Church. And that’s why on the cross is when His heart is pierced, the blood and water flow out, and the Divine Mercy image, which shows those rays, red and pale rays coming from the wound in His heart. So, coming from His sacrifice, that is, the rays of grace and mercy that can save the world is coming from His heart, from His sacrifice. So that all who believe, all who trust in Him, can see the saving power that comes only from His sacrifice. So, that’s the second point that’s out there is a solution. But the solution is only in Jesus and His sacrifice. But how did Jesus want to make this sacrifice very accessible to everyone, not just the people living in His time, but throughout history, all the way down to us living in 2021. So that everyone could easily come to this source of Divine Mercy. So that leads us to the second point, the key point. Jesus words are shocking, and very mysterious. nobody really understands Him when He says them. I’ll read those words. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” So shocking. Words. These are the words that they’re going to say these are too hard, who can understand these, who can accept these? “Who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven. Not such as the fathers ate and died, he who eats this bread will live forever.” And again, this scandalizes the people, what does He mean? This is crazy. This sounds shocking. And it’s not till sometime later the night before His passion, the night before His sacrifice, celebrating the sacred pascal meal, that He does something which is not according to the rite. He says, taking the bread, this is My body, and taking the chalice, this is My blood. And then He says, “do this in remembrance of Me.” So, what do these mysterious words of Jesus mean? I want to focus just on two points. One, that we know, by His word, that the bread and wine are changed to become truly His body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, what theology calls transubstantiation. And that’s why we have Eucharistic Adoration, because we recognize in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ, who is to be adored. And that’s the reason for Holy Communion. It’s the opportunity to do what Jesus said, to eat His body, drink His blood, to be united to Him. He says, he who does this abides in Me, and lives because of Me, we receive His life. And so that’s the first key point that Jesus is truly present His real presence. But the other point is even less known, this is the point I said, I bet that other Catholics who go to Mass on Sundays, and that’s just the Catholics who go to Mass on Sundays, not the ones who would just go to Mass once in a while, I bet not even 5% know this. And it’s not as this is not a secret. This is not something I discovered. This is so clearly in the Catechism. It’s that the Mass makes present, when the Mass is celebrated, it makes present the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. As I said that Jesus died over 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, and here we are in 2021. Here at the little Mission of Divine Mercy. And by the celebration, this Holy Eucharist, beyond time and space, these two realities are united. His sacrifice becomes truly present. That’s why when someone asked Padre Pio, what should be our attitude when we’re going to the Mass? St. Padre Pio, who had the stigmata as another sign of Christ’s passion. His father of Padre Pio said, our attitude to be the one of what we would our attitude if we were going to Calvary, because we are going to the sacrifice of Jesus. This is what the Protestant reformers rejected. They accepted that the Mass could be the celebration of the Last Supper. But they rejected that it was His sacrifice made present, not repeated but made present. And that’s why there’s so many Eucharistic miracles, like miracles in which the host begins to bleed are signs that the Lord has given us, miraculous, signs that His sacrifice is truly present. And that’s what the crucifix above the altar represents, represented on the altar is made present, the very sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary. That’s why St. John Paul can say, “in this little host, in this little host, is the solution to all the problems of the world.” And so, I repeat, that the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary is made present when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated. That’s why we call it the Holy Sacrifice. I say that again. That sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary is made present when the Holy Mass is celebrated. It doesn’t look like it right? Doesn’t look like it, doesn’t feel like it. It’s only by faith that we know that. But this faith, as I say, is in crisis, tremendous crisis. And when I talked about so many people have left the church, so many people no longer go to Mass, I’m not blaming them. Many times, the fault is not them. It’s the fault of those whose mission is to transmit this. And it’s not just transmitted by words. But it’s transmitted, as we talked about what we’ll come back to how it’s transmitted. But so, the sacrifice of Jesus is made present, when Holy Mass is celebrated. And that’s why St. John Paul says, “in this little host is the solution to all the problems of the world,” because Jesus is present. But then comes the question. If that’s the solution, then how come the world has still so many problems? Why there’s still so many problems if there is a solution? And if the solution is this Holy Mass that we’re celebrating. So, it doesn’t work, right? The Mass doesn’t really work. What’s the problem? So, something else is needed. The power is in His sacrifice. But each person has to make a free response, to receive that power. Think that it wasn’t just when Jesus died on Calvary, that everyone is instantly converted, right? It was only in the measure in which people believed in His sacrifice on the cross, and believed in His resurrection, that they receive the power. That is, it’s by faith, the power is there, but it’s only received by faith. For instance, if you have electrical power in your house, but you don’t plug say a fan, like we have these fans which are so appreciated, we had a fair bit, if you don’t plug the fan in, it doesn’t do any good, because the power is not flowing into the fan. The faith is like what plugs us in to the power of Jesus’ sacrifice and permits that power to flow. So, it’s not just receiving the Holy Eucharist, physically, that saves us. It’s faith in His Holy Eucharist, faith in Jesus’ presence in the Holy Eucharist, receiving with faith. It’s in the measure of our faith of our trust in Him, that we can receive His grace. You know, even in a human relationship, how much unity there is, depends a lot on the trust between the two persons. And so, it’s our trust in Jesus, our faith in Him, which permit His graces to flow in us. And so, that’s why faith is so needed, essential. But what Jesus is asking us to believe, is very hard. Even His disciples, we heard the gospel said, “This saying is, too hard, who can accept it? So, the solution is in Jesus in His sacrifice, which is made present at Mass, but that requires something difficult on our part, requires an act of faith. And so what can we do, we can’t save the world, but we can help lead people to the source of salvation, which is Jesus Christ, His sacrifice, His sacrifice made present in the Holy Eucharist. And that’s so much the vocation of our little Mission of Divine Mercy. And the retreats, we give the encounter with Jesus, I speak much of this, in our Encounter with Jesus retreat, we’re just about to begin those again now in February, after all the COVID shut down. It’s to lead people to the mercy of God through faith in Jesus and His Eucharistic sacrifice. And so, for us, that faith is difficult, but one thing that has helped, can help so much are signs, and, and I spoke about this just a couple of weeks ago, signs which lead us from what is visible to what is invisible. And I think that traditional Latin Mass, in many ways had many signs which were much more effective at expressing the Mass as a Holy Sacrifice, the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus. And I know so many who loved the traditional Latin Mass, had been very distressed by the recent guidelines, which made that so much more difficult. Faith is needed, and signs, signs which help express the Divine Mystery, mystery, Divine Mystery, which is present, even today as we’re about to celebrate this Divine Mystery. And so, in conclusion, our world, just to summarize, our world has many great problems. The practical solution, the one practical solution is Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, He is the only Savior. The second point is that His sacrifice is made present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And the third point is, that’s not enough for us to receive those, we need to have faith. And that’s why signs are so important, signs that help us believe. Do you also, will you also go away? Jesus asks you that, what He’s asking you to believe,faith, and especially faith in these painful dark times that we’re living. Faith is very difficult, very difficult, and the devil is always attacking that faith. And here we see many of His disciples leaving. And we know today many are leaving. And so Jesus asks you, will you also go away? Will you also leave me? Will, you also abandoned me? And you have to make a response. No one can make it for you. You’re free to make that response. And so, we can ask, in these difficult times we can ask our Blessed Mother, who knows what it is to believe, when times are terrible and dark. And in extreme pain, and everybody is leaving and abandoning. We can ask her to help us even today in His Holy Communion, make an act of faith. As Saint Peter said, “Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One. Amen