The Lord be with you,
This week I want to ensure everyone is aware of the most critical focus for our parish is still on going and in fact has been extended. Believe it or not, I am not speaking about our offertory needs and the grand annual! I am referring to the source and summit of our lives, of our church, and of our parish - The Year of the Eucharist!
That is correct. Our efforts to focus on our understanding and relationship with God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been happening and will continue for quite a bit longer than originally planned. Obviously, the pandemic restrictions have hampered our efforts. But I do want to direct your attention to the weekly Year of the Eucharist section in our bulletin. Each week we provide something that I always look forward to reviewing. We place an excellent thought from a saint pertaining to the Eucharist. Additionally, in the lower church hall, we are displaying panels which highlight various Eucharistic Miracles that help us know more fully this reality we are invited to participate in each week. When I use the word Eucharist, I am not only referring to the host you receive at the communion rite at Mass. When I use the word Eucharist, I am referring to the entire Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is what we really believe is the Eucharist.
So, when we gather for the Eucharist, we are gathering to worship and praise our God. He calls us to Himself in order for us to worship Him… to be in His presence. Why? Because He, our creator, knows this is critical to our lives… we need it! It gets even better because our worship of our God is accomplished by drawing us into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is in that context that we receive communion. But make no mistake, our act of worship is our involvement in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - that means making every gesture at church (Mass) a real act of worship - it means responding to the prayers, singing hymns, listening (not reading) the Word of God being proclaimed, only receiving the Body and Blood when in a state of grace, and giving our full attention everything.
With all this in mind, this week’s Gospel presents a poor leper on the road. He encounters Christ, is healed and filled with joy. However, this is not only about being healed. This is about worship! This leper represents a person removed from the common folk. This removal from a proper life within the community means this leper was prohibited from Worshipping God. The leper was removed from this and forced to proclaim this deprivation by warning every one of his affliction. This was the worst possible state of being for anyone… removed from God’s presence, from His Grace, from His healing. All this was the real horror experienced by the leper.
All this changed when the leper encountered the Lord. This situation of the leper standing before our Lord, Jesus Christ was one of worship. In this act of worship, the leper experienced his healing. In his act of worship, he was restored to a proper life. And the gospel points to that proper life by the response of the leper…overjoyed, and a healed leper publicizing the mercy and goodness of God. All this new life from proper worship… which by the way means: worth-most-to-you… worth - ship! What is your worship… most important to you?
So, all this to encourage us all to properly worship our God. That means coming to the Eucharistic celebration… the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each week as called by God. Of course, due to COVID restrictions all this is somehow suspended and up to your discretion. We do need to keep each other safe. We do have responsibilities to respect the protective measures put in place. Safety is our priority!
But in all this we should be aware of what we are temporarily missing in our lives. I pray for the days when everyone can again worship and praise God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.