What happens in the Mass? Jesus, the Word of God, reaches out to give life to us, to inspire us – we who are part of His Body, the Church. He does this first, and most prominently, in the Eucharist. Jesus is the Word Incarnate, and the Eucharist is Jesus! We receive his Precious Body and Blood, and we are transformed by divine grace. This, of course, assumes we are open to receiving Him more deeply at each Mass, and that we are determined to love Him and live for Him. Our hearts have to desire life in Him. We have to avail ourselves of the grace present in the Eucharist.
Secondly, Jesus, the Word of God, comes to us through the Scriptures being read in Mass. All of Scripture is written to reveal Him to us. Preaching in the Mass is meant to help people open themselves up to Jesus, both in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist. My concern in preaching is not so much that people hear me, as it is that people encounter Jesus. It has happened on occasion that a person greets me after Mass and tells me something and mentions something he or she got out of the homily; and I realize that I was not in the slightest intending to get “that message” across to the person. I trust that the Holy Spirit is doing his work in the heart of each person at Mass, and communicating to that heart what He desires by means of the homily. God is reaching out to the mind and heart of each believer at Mass.
Here is a great quote from Thomas à Kempis in his famous work, The Imitation of Christ (book 4, chap. 11):
Two things are needful for me in this life, and without these two I cannot continue to live: God's word is light, and his sacrament living bread for my soul. We can also say that they are two tables set out in the room of God's Church. One is the table of the holy altar; on it lies the sacred bread, the precious body of Jesus Christ. The other is the table of the holy Law; on it lies the sacred doctrine which instructs us into the true faith, and reaches, behind the veil, into the inmost holy of holies.
In this new year that is upon us, may we enter all the more deeply into the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is the deepest Mystery on earth. And may we help those closest to us to appreciate the Mass more fully. The Eucharist is the Source and Summit of our life.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,