The Real Presence of the Risen Christ
As we celebrate this Fifth Sunday of Easter, we are called by the readings of our Mass, to consider the condition of the early Church, when the newly, miraculously converted Paul, made his efforts to join the original disciples of the Risen (and now Ascended) Christ. The apostles were naturally quite skeptical about this formerly rabid persecutor of Christians. This reflective account in the Acts of the Apostles, written by Mark, tells us that the early Church was now “at Peace”, “being built up”, and “with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers”. Only one thing can account for such astounding well-being and prosperity, and that is the Real Presence of the Risen Christ. We need to keep this top-of-mind as we continue to celebrate, during this Easter Octave, the fact that “He is truly Risen!”
That we are able to know that He remains in us is a gift from the Holy Spirit…the “Advocate” that Christ promised to send us. “His Real Presence”… certainly defies human logic and science, and so it really requires our catechized Belief, our Faith, in the written ‘Word of God’…the Gospel accountings of Jesus’ teachings. In this past Friday’s short Gospel, from John 14: 7-14, Jesus uses the word “believe” as an emphasis to a questioning and unbelieving Phillip… four times. Then today’s Second Reading from the First Letter of John, in combination with the Gospel of John, utilizes the word “remain” ten times. To ‘remain’ connotes: “staying committed to; to continue unchanged; to be a part not destroyed”. That sounds a lot like “Faith”. John’s letter reminds us “Those who keep His Commandments remain in Him, and He in them, and the way we know that He remains in us is from the Holy Spirit He gave us.”
Putting this reliance on Believing and Being Faithful into perspective…the final paragraph of today’s Gospel from John Chapter 15, instructs us: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, He will testify to Me.” The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, He has sent to enlighten us and increase our Faith and Belief. As you are aware one of my major points of “faith” emphasis, is our need to believe and embrace the promise Our Lord made that He will remain with us until the end of time. Remember His parting words: “A little while and you will no longer see me and again a little while later and you will see me” (Jn 16:16).
So, He is with us until the end of time, but…we will not see Him. He is truly with us in the Consecrated Bread of the Holy Eucharist. There is no greater homage we can give Our Savior than to Believe in His promised continuing Real Presence. Let us pray to His Advocate, the Holy Spirit for the gifts of Wisdom and Belief. And with that strengthened faith, give serious thought to taking advantage of our dedicated periods of Quiet Adoration here at our Parish. And, I invite you to select a suitable hour for your Sacred Adoration time, that you can commit to every Friday during our 24 Hour Adoration Period. And rest assured that your sacrifice will bear great spiritual dividends.
The tenth anniversary of my ordination to priesthood is a week from next Tuesday, and I can think of no greater gift I could receive, than a card advising me, (if it is at all feasible) that you are telling Carole Borz, our Director of the Adoration Guild, to have your name pre-printed on our sign-up sheets for your particular weekly hour. I would never dare to be so bold as to be persuading you to make this specific commitment if I were not totally confident that you will be the beneficiary. Please call either me, or Carole Borz, with the hour of Adoration you have chosen.
There has never been a time in Christian history when the world needed more to be educated in having faith in Christ and belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist…than today. It is the same Jesus who worked miracles in first century Palestine. He is ready to perform miracles of conversion in our day, provided we truly believe that He is really here with us in the Blessed Sacrament, hungry for our attention and anxious to hear our needs. Thank you in advance for your heart-felt consideration and spiritual participation.
Yours in Our Eucharistic Savior,