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  • Dyann Maldonado

Let us open our heart to Jesus

Third Sunday of Easter


April 14, 2024





In our gospel reading today, Luke underscores the fact that Jesus is truly alive. Now, this might strike you as a very basic truth of all Christians believe but let me add a bit more to that sentence that makes it even more striking. He is very much alive in the Eucharist that is consecrated in every Catholic Mass that is offered throughout the world, every day until the end of time. This is a basic truth that many Christians do not believe, and it is this that I want to focus on today. Let's zero in on the first sentence. Zero in on the first sentence of our gospel reading, Luke begins this passage with two disciples who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, telling the apostles that Jesus was alive.

Here's the part that gets overlooked. And they recognized him only when he broke that bread with them. What an interesting thing to say. They walked and talked with him for quite a while, and they did not recognize him until he blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to them. That sounds suspiciously like Holy Communion, doesn't it? And speaking of Holy Communion, we know from the very earliest times that this belief that Jesus is alive and physically present Body, Blonds Soul and Divinity.

After the consecration of the bread and wine was clearly believed. In fact, it is this very belief that caused the pagans to accuse the early Christians of cannibalism. From a letter dating in the to the year 176. We read of an early Christian by the name of Athens, who wrote to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Addressing this charge, he argued that Christians are not cannibals because cannibal is and requires that the flesh of the victim be dead.

He simply observed, Christians are not cannibals because the flesh of Christ which is consumed is not dead flesh. The resurrected and fully live flesh of Christ glorified body. Our faith teaches us that with the sacrament of the Eucharist, we are invited to a profound encounter with the living Christ. It's not merely a symbolic gesture, a remembrance of past events.

Rather, it is a sacramental reality where the divine intersects with the human. In other words, at the time of consecration, the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross is made present to us in this Holy Mass. The sacrifice on Calvary reaches through time and touches us with grace and power. For while the crucifixion occurred at a point in historical time, it transcends time.

I find it to be so very sad that not only do Protestants not believe that Jesus is truly alive in the sacrament, but many Catholics do not believe this either. Polls show us that those who profess to be Catholic, 69%, believe that Jesus is present only symbolically in the Eucharist. Of those who attend mass every Sunday, the statistics are a bit better, but still not good.

63% believe that Christ is fully present. Body, Blond, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. That still means that fully one third of mass going Catholics do not believe this. You might ask, how can we witness to those who do not believe that Jesus is alive and among us today in the Blessed Sacrament? Well, my friends, I would say that actions generally speak louder than words.

As Catholics, if we truly believe that the kingdom of heaven is on earth with us now, here in this church, we must act like a king is present. We must always enter a Catholic church with great respect and solemnity. We must dress with proper dignity that is befitting an audience with the King. We must honor him with reverence, without oration, and with a profound and holy fear.

As this year has been proclaimed to be the year of Eucharistic Revival. Let me conclude with a quote from the great Curia of ours, Saint John VNA. “We know that Jesus is there in the Tabernacle. Let us open our hearts to him. Let us rejoice in his sacred presence”. That is the best prayer.

 

Amen.


Homily begins at: 18:30




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