Third Sunday of Easter, April 5, 2008  The Word of God is His Self-Revelation to us, but He is more manifest in the Eucharist.

Father Felix’s Homilies

Sunday, April 5, 2008

Last week we talked of how Our Lord becomes really present each time two or three of us are gathered in His name.

We said whenever He hears His name mentioned, He quickly joins in. He loves to hear His name called. Immediately He shows up.

When you are in a place where people talk in foreign language that you don’t understand, all you may listen for is your name.

When you hear your name, your ears perk up. The same is true with God. You call his name, he shows up immediately, to take an active part in the conversation and debate.

To show that he likes hearing us recount his deeds among us, listen how he probes the conversation to go on, when we know very well he knew the story. When Cleopas says,

“Are you the only one in town who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” Our Lord's response is, “What sort of things?”

And Cleopas had to elaborate: “The things that happened to Jesu the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and the people, how our Chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel . . .”

Each time you open your mouth to discuss matters of faith and morals in the classroom with your students, Jesus draws near and walks with you. He will even open your minds to understand the Scriptures. He will interpret it for you. He will begin with Moses and all the prophets.

We also notice that when you approach your home from church (Jerusalem), he gives the impression that he is going on farther. (See you later. I've to go.) Unless you invite him in, Our Lord doesn't invite himself. He waits for your invitation to stay with you. Then when you do that, he reveals his glory to you all the more.

This afternoon invite the Lord to stay with you at your home.

Notice that “while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.”  This sounds familiar, doesn't it?  This is the Eucharist. That's how Our Lord wanted to teach his disciples what to do. There were to have/offer the Eucharist. As soon as they recognized who he was, he vanished from their sight. He had accomplished his mission. That's why we do what we do what we do.

Notice also that it is at the Eucharist that his identity is fully manifested. That is to teach us that Christ Our Lord is Fully and Substantially Present in the Eucharist. As our Catechism says, He is present in the Eucharist, unlike any other places. He is found present in his Word, in the other sacraments, in the holy sacramentals, in the Church congregated. But in the Eucharist, he is present Really, in Reality, Truly, Substantially, in all his Identity (Body, flesh and blood, soul, and Divinity, says our Catechism). He is present in the unique way.

That is the point of showing us that the disciples could not fully realize him until he was at table with them.

In His Word, you know about God. In the Eucharist you know God. In the Word, you read about God, but in the Eucharist you meet God really in person. That is the point of stating, “while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them . . . but they were prevented from recognizing him.” The Word of God is His Self-Revelation to us, but He is more manifest in the Eucharist.

It is one thing to look at the photo of a person. It is another when you meet the person in person, in reality. When you watch the Pope on television, you are really seeing the Pope. But you are seeing his image. But it is truly Him. But when he comes to New York and you attend his Mass that is what we are talking about.

In the Eucharist, you are not only seeing Him in an image, in a symbol, in a sacrament, but you are really, truly, substantially, concretely, not just ideally, meeting Jesus Christ in person.

At Mass, Christ makes himself manifest to you. He takes the bread, says the blessing, breaks the bread and gives it to you. Recognize. He is the priest here at Mass today and always. I'm just acting in his persona. He is the one opening your minds to understand the scriptures. He is the preacher at Mass. He is the one interpreting the scriptures to you.

Notice also that the Gospel starts with the disciples recounting, conversing, and debating the recent events surrounding Our Lord. Then it moves us to them sitting with this stranger at table in their home. And while they are at table, this stranger (acquaintance) takes the bread, says the blessing, breaks the bread, and gives it to them. That was a clue to them that “Guys, I am he. The One. Risen.”

This is the summary or the blueprint of the Mass. We start with the Readings, starting with Moses, then the Prophets, and then the interpretation of those scriptures in the homily. “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, the interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.” This is our Holy Mass put in a script. Our Lord then celebrated Mass for the disciples of Emmaus.

That explains why we celebrate Mass the way we do. Because Our Lord did it that way. Anything different isn't the way Our Lord wants. It falls short. If all a church does is Read the word of God and preach, then the church is over, it's short-changing the believers.

We have already seen that Our Lord did not vanish from them after the Readings. Why? Because his mission was not accomplished yet. The climax of his Self-Manifestation was not reached yet. He only gave the impression that he was going on farther. But his full self-manifestation came at the Breaking of the Bread, at the Eucharist.

They were still in the dark about him. They knew more about him, but they were still “prevented from recognizing him”.

So the Eucharist is the Source, Center and Summit of all liturgical life/services. The Eucharist takes it home.

This is to say that the Eucharist is the reason for our togetherness. We are together for the purpose of receiving the Lord, really, personally, truly, in person, substantially. It is the Hearth we gather around.

So, that makes a house of prayer without the Eucharist, a cold house. When a house is cold then children scatter all over looking for heat.

 The Reformation movement did away with this mystery of the Eucharist and they have learned the hard way. That has led to 32,000 separate, ununified, uncoordinated demoninations.

 

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