Last week we began looking at the Mass and the Holy Eucharist;
and the lesson from last week was this:
this is all about a bigger plan by God, and without seeing
that bigger reality, you can’t understand the Eucharist properly.
What is that plan? It is union with God –
and I mean that in the fullest, fullest sense.
See, this is the whole controversy right here:
people want to receive Holy Communion,
but that union-with-God, union-with-his-people, thing?
Let’s keep that part vague! We can deal with that later.
But that’s the whole point; there is no other point. So you can’t skip it.
If you or I say we have union with God;
but we don’t unite to what Jesus says: is that real union?
You have politicians who take precisely that view:
they say, oh we love Jesus and we should be able to receive
the Eucharist – but we believe Jesus is wrong in what he teaches!
Of course they don’t state it that baldly, but that is their position.
Jesus says, marriage is male and female. They reject that.
Jesus says “Thou shalt not kill,” but they won’t stop abortion;
They even say you and I must pay for it!
So, yes, these politicians are rejecting Jesus’ own words.
How do you take Jesus in the Eucharist while rejecting Him?
It’s not just politicians. Lots of people want to take Holy Communion,
but they don’t want to live the way Jesus commands.
And I am not soft-pedaling the challenge of the commandments.
But how can we be in union with Jesus, while not living as he asks?
A third example: people – who aren’t Catholic -- say, I love Jesus!
You should give me Holy Communion!
So you or I ask, well, do you believe this –
the Sacred Host, the Precious Blood –
actually and truly are Jesus himself?
And these folks will get uncomfortable and say,
what difference does it make, and can’t we skip over that?
And the answer is, the Eucharist is all about unity;
how can there be unity if we aren’t even united
about WHO the Eucharist IS?
One more case: there are folks who say, Jesus is fine with me –
but I don’t want to join the Church he founded.
Who would say that to Jesus’ face:
Jesus, I like your head; but the rest of your Body? No!
In all these ways, people want to take the Eucharist
but they want to sidestep the whole “union with God” part –
Again I remind you…THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!
That’s why it’s called COMMUNION.
So, what the Church has always taught, from the very beginning,
is that before you and I enter into any of the sacraments,
there has to be a unity of faith – we believe the same things –
and a unity of life – we accept and live by the same commandments;
and we do this as a community, or “communion,” called the Church.
There are those who tell you, just go to communion,
don’t worry about what you believe,
or about keeping God’s commandments;
and it doesn’t matter if you belong to the Church Jesus established.
Those who say that, I have to ask: do they believe in hell?
Or do they figure nearly everyone goes to heaven,
so what difference does it make?
In the second reading, Paul says what he always says:
this is all about the Cross.
Jesus died to reconcile us to each other and to God.
If we all go to heaven anyway, why did he do that?
Here are words Jesus never said:
Do what you like, it’ll all work out fine.
The reason it all matters is because this world
is where we respond to God’s grace
and by carrying the Cross daily, you and I become heavenly;
or we don’t let God’s grace change us, and then we lose heaven.
Someone might ask: Am I claiming we have to be perfect
in order to come to Holy Communion? Absolutely not!
What I am saying is that you and I must unite [changed to "bend" in some Masses] our will to Jesus’
as best we can; opening ourselves to his grace to do the rest.
So: today’s message: Holy Communion is about union.
Union with God in all ways; union with Jesus on the Cross;
and union with one another, which is maybe the hardest part of all!
If anyone says, I want Jesus, how do I have Jesus?
Our Catholic answer is, come and meet Jesus in our company.
We will share with you what comes from the Apostles.
Discover who he is, and discover the Church he established.
Count the cost of taking up his Cross as he himself said.
You are welcome to come with us, and be part of us.
We will share everything with you,
in this life, and even more, in the life to come!