19th Sunday, Ordinary - Homily
It’s interesting to think about how much time we spend each week or even each day watching movies or television…listening to music…surfing the internet. There are a variety of reasons why we spend so much of our free time on these different media. We might feel that movies make us laugh or make us cry. We might experience certain emotions through a character or like a particular actor. Movies entertain us. But, the question is, are movies real? For the most part, no they are not. And yet, we invest so much time, money, and energy in them.
Then, we ask the question that many people don’t like to answer. How much time do we spend with God each week? I trust that it's at least one hour a week…at Mass. So, the question is, is what happens at Mass real? Yes!! If we have some understanding of what takes place during Mass, then we know that what happens here blows away any movie that’s ever been made. God appears before our very eyes! In probably my favorite line from Scripture, Jesus tells us in John 6:51 from today’s Gospel that this is true: “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”.
What happened on Mount Calvary was real. Even the most ardent atheist in the world would agree that Jesus of Nazareth shed his blood and died on a Cross 2000 years ago. It’s an historical fact. It was really his flesh and blood on the Cross. We differ with the atheist, of course, with what happened three days later in the Resurrection. Christ teaches us in John 6:51 that the same flesh and blood that was on the Cross is the same flesh and blood on the altar at each Mass.
If we put John 6:51 into an equation, we see that “the bread that I will give” (the Eucharist) “is” (equals ) “my flesh for the life of the world”. So, the Eucharist = flesh. The Eucharist that is on the altar at Mass is the same flesh and blood that Jesus offered for the life of the world on Good Friday. People will ask, ‘so, does Jesus die over and over again at every Mass?’ No, Scripture says he “died once and for all”. His sacrifice on Mount Calvary is re-presented on the altar under the signs of bread and wine.
The only difference has to do with what happened since Good Friday: the Resurrection. The Eucharist is the risen body and blood of Christ. It is the same Jesus. What happens at Mass is real, and it is awesome, baby! Awesome!!
So, we come to this Mass and every Mass to give thanks to God the Father for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us. In a special way, we give thanks for the Eucharist. Eucharist comes from the Greek word, ‘eukaristeion’ (sp?), which means ‘thanksgiving’. We thank Jesus for this incredible gift. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice for us. Thank you for giving us your life. Thank you for the Eucharist. Thank you for your life. Thank you for your love. Thank you, Jesus.