Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fulfilled in your presence (Sunday homily)

In the first reading we hear a prophecy of Isaiah: 
all nations shall stream toward “the mountain of the Lord’s house.” 
And perhaps you’re wondering to what that refers.

Well, let’s figure it out.

It refers to the “Lord’s House” – that means the temple. 
And that Temple was built on Mount Zion; 
which is also where the city of Jerusalem is.
It was also on that mountain – in the city of Jerusalem –
that Jesus gathered with his Apostles on the night before he died. 
It was there that he completed his “Mass” 
with his suffering and death on the Cross.

So if you’re wondering how that prophecy is to be fulfilled: 
the answer is in the Holy Mass – what we are doing right now!

Isaiah said that the Word of the Lord would go forth from Zion – 
and it did, especially after the Day of Pentecost;
And that all the nations would stream to the Lord’s House –
And that, too, has happened; the Holy Mass 
is offered throughout the world, 
in every language and nation and tongue, 
even in places where it is extremely dangerous to worship Christ.

So it is wonderful to consider that this passage has been, 
and is being, fulfilled, even as we gather here for Holy Mass!

 Now, the emphasis in the Gospel is on watchfulness 
for the coming of Jesus.
But let’s not misunderstand that. 
Many people talk about Jesus’ coming, 
as if he’s now absent from the world. 
They’ll say, “he’s coming back – as if, he’s not here.
But Jesus IS here, and has been, 
ever since he was conceived in the womb of Mary!

When we talk about Jesus’ coming again, 
it might be better to think of it as his coming in full; 
his complete coming.
Pope Benedict made this point one time, 
when he explained that Jesus is constantly “coming” into the world, 
and what we will witness at the end of time 
is the completion of  his coming 

Jesus “comes” every time we mention his name – 
which is why it’s a praiseworthy custom 
to bow our heads at the name of Jesus.
Jesus “comes” when his people gather to pray; remember what he said: 
“wherever two or three gather in my name, 
there am I in the midst of you.”

Jesus “comes” when we proclaim the Gospel – 
which is why we stand for that reading, while sitting for the others.

Jesus “comes” whenever someone is baptized, 
someone receives absolution in confession, and in all the sacraments.
And, of course, he “comes” in such a wonderful way 
when the Holy Mass is offered, 
and he himself makes present his sacrifice at the altar.
So, realize, that what the Gospel promises 
is likewise fulfilled right here, before your eyes!

Yes, there is a complete fulfillment yet ahead, 
and we don’t know when that will happen.
But there is a way that you and I can live, 
so that we need not worry about it.

Every day we live, eager to speak his name, 
eager to see him, eager to hear him speak to us.
If you’re looking at the materials on prayer on, 
you heard Dr. Tim Gray talk about prayer as a conversation with God, 
who speaks to us in the Scriptures.

We don’t have to wait to hear Jesus or to see him.
He’s here, speaking to us, giving himself to us.
Seek him in confession. Seek him in Scripture. Seek him in silence.
Seek him in the Holy Mass.
Then, there will never be an hour we are not ready.